Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Thursday announced a Rs139.5 billion balanced budget for the next fiscal year 2020-21 with a development outlay of Rs24.5 billion.
Minister for Health and Finance Dr Najeeb Naqi presented the budget and the revised estimates for current fiscal year in the legislative Assembly session being held under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the wake of Covid-19.
The total income for the fiscal year 2020-21 has been estimated Rs115 billion compared to the current fiscal years estimate of Rs97 billion, which shrank to Rs94 billion in the revised estimates.
The current expenditures for the coming fiscal year are estimated at Rs115 billion, same as the estimates of income, and the development expenditures of Rs24.5 would be provided from the federal government in the form of grants.
The government itself would collect Rs28.5 billion, out of which Rs20.6 billion under the head of income tax and Rs7.9 billion in other taxes, while the share from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) taxes has been estimated at Rs70 billion. Another Rs19.9 billion is estimated from the state revenue.
The government has allocated Rs28.88 billion for education department; Rs22 billion for the payment of pensions, Rs10 billion for health department, Rs16.524 billion for miscellaneous expenditures (grants) and Rs8.762 billion for the electricity department.
In the development expenditures, the biggest amount of Rs10.2 billion has been allocated for roads and communication network, more than Rs2.57 for education, Rs2.795 for local government and rural development, Rs2.155 billion for housing and physical planning, Rs1.7 billion for power development and Rs1 billion for development schemes of health department.
In his budget speech, the finance minister said that 72% development funds in the coming fiscal year budget had been allocated for the ongoing development schemes while 28% were allocated for new schemes. He added that 119 schemes had been completed during the current fiscal year while a target of completing 190 ongoing schemes had been set in the next year.
Dr Naqi said that a scheme worth Rs3.64 billion had been added to federal government’s annual development programme for the rehabilitation of the people affected by Indian firing on Line of Control (LoC).
He said Rs200 million had been allocated for the provision of emergency services and free medicines in the hospitals to general public during the coming fiscal year while Rs200 million had been allocated in for Covid-19 patients, compared to the Rs220 million of the revised current budget.
He said that education sector had been given a priority in the coming fiscal year and the work on construction of 40 high and 10 middle schools in the region would continue in fiscal year 2020-21, while allocation had also been made for construction of 30 middle and 30 primary new school buildings.