Rs141.4bn tax-free AJK budget announced

MUZAFFARABAD: The PML-N led AJK government Tuesday presented tax-free budget for fiscal year 2021-22 here in the AJK State Legislative Assembly. The budget provides the development outlay to the tune of Rs 28 billion which shows 14 percent increase against the current financial year allocations while non development expenditure has been estimated to Rs 113.4 billion.

Presenting the budget in the house, Azad Kashmir Finance Minister Dr. Najeeb Naqi said that next financial year’s budget had been prepared after complete financial planning to project maximum financial resources for the overall development of the state. He said 66 percent of the developmental budget would be spent for the completion of 176 developmental projects while the work on 209 developmental projects would also be started during the next financial year.

He announced 10 percent ad-hoc relief in pay and pensions of the employees while twenty five percent disparity reductions Allowance had also been proposed in the budget. Explaining the strategy of the developmental budget, he said top priority had been given to the communication sector with an allocation of 10 billion rupees which was 36 percent of the total development budget earmarked for the next financial year. Under this sector, the road infrastructure will be further improved besides completion of ongoing development Projects.

The finance minister said that the Power sector would receive two billion rupees and more than two hundred electricity transformers would be installed while eighteen thousand new service connections would be given to the consumers and new grid stations would also be set up in different parts of the state to provide uninterrupted power supply to the people.

The minister said that the government was giving special importance to utilize water resources to produce cheap electricity in the state. He said to achieve this objective, 23 hydel power projects had been completed and electricity of one billion rupees had been produced. He said 800 million rupees would be spent during the next financial year to initiate work on new hydel power projects in different parts of Azad Kashmir.

Education sector will get Rs 3.2 billion rupees while the health sector will receive Rs 1.750 billion during the next financial year. Rs 200 million had been earmarked to control the corona pandemic in the state, he added.

He said 720 million rupees had been set aside for the completion of foreign aided projects and 400 million rupees for the tourism sector to boost the tourism activities in the state. The minister said the social sector would receive 22 percent, the productive sector 10 percent and the infrastructure sector would get 68 percent financial resources during the next financial year.

He said that the Physical Planning and Housing sector will get Rs 4.8 billion while Rs 1.7 billion had been earmarked for Local government and rural development sector for the next financial year.

The minister thanked the federal government for extending Rs 28 billion for the development of Azad Kashmir including the provision of two billion rupees foreign added projects despite financial crunch.

He said four billion rupees would also be extended by the Ministry of Kashmir affairs for the completion of ongoing development scheme launched to mitigate the suffering of the people of Indian forces firings.

The minister said the Muslim League government had fulfilled all its commitments and promised made with the people according to its manifesto and had presented continuously fifth people friendly development oriented budget. The minister said soon after taking the oath of office of the Prime Minister, he unveiled the three fundamental objectives of his government to establish good governance, sustainable development and liberation of occupied Kashmir.

He informed the house that liberation of occupied Kashmir had been remained the top priority of our government. In this connection, the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir had effectively projected the Kashmir issue at international level and visited the European parliament and different European Countries to apprise the world community about the gruesome human rights violations being committed by the brute Indian forces on Kashmiri civilian and presented the documentary evidence about the Indian forces atrocities on innocent Kashmir people before the world community, he added.

The minister paid tributes to the Pakistan Armed forces for offering unprecedented sacrifices and defending the motherland at the line of control.

He also presented before the house the revised budget estimates for the current financial year.

Speaker of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir presided over the session.

Earlier the Azad Kashmir Cabinet at its special meeting in the State capital on Tuesday approved the budget estimates for the next financial year 2021-22. Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan chaired the meeting.


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