LAHORE: The Punjab government on Monday approved the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 today with an estimated total budget outlay of Rs 2.653 trillion, including an Annual Development Programme (ADP) worth Rs 560 billion.
Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the budget, which received unanimous approval from the Punjab Cabinet.
The Punjab Cabinet also approved the much-anticipated 10% increase in salaries and pension of provincial employees and also greenlighted the decision to increase the minimum wage of workers from Rs17,500 to Rs20,000.
In the cabinet meeting, the Board of Revenue proposed to increase the agricultural tax. However, the Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and the Punjab Cabinet unanimously rejected the suggestion.
“The proposed budget has measures to give relief to the common man,” CM Buzdar. “All targets are realistic and all priorities have been set in accordance with the needs of the masses.”
The chief minister added that the budget is not a “magic of statistics” but is a document based on development.
Taking a jibe at the Opposition, the chief minister said: “The job of the incompetent and failed Opposition is just to make noise.
The budget session was the maiden one in the newly-constructed building of the Punjab Assembly. The total outlay of the budget has increased by more than 18% and the development budget has gained 66% compared with the current fiscal year.
The Punjab government has fixed the target of more than Rs400 billion of provincial revenue (both tax and non-tax revue) for the fiscal year 2021-22, which is 28% higher than the ongoing fiscal year target. This reflects that the economy of Punjab has been battling the COVID-19 impact and economic managers are anticipating quick growth and economic activities in the coming fiscal year.
For the first time in the history of the province, a separate annual development plan to the tune of Rs189 billion is allocated for south Punjab, while these schemes would also be published in separate budget books.