Eqaul development across Punjab pivotal of budget: Hashim Jawan

LAHORE, June 15 (APP)::Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakhat said on Saturday that equal development across Punjab, social protection and human resource development were the pivotal of provincial budget 2019-20.
Addressing the post budget press conference here, he added that budget 2019-20 was based on Punjab Growth Strategy 2018-23 providing leading principles to Punjab government for next five year.
“We have tried our best that budget document ensures bright future of the people of Punjab instead of mere jugglery of figures,” he vowed.
To a question, Hashim Jawan said that south Punjab comprising 32 per cent of the province’s population had for the last seven years been receiving an average 17 per cent of developmental funds.
Such practices had weakened the economic indicators of that part of the province and elevated the poverty ratio.
That is why, he argued, present government allocated 35 per cent of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for fiscal year 2019-20 for southern Punjab districts enabling them to come up at par with other developed areas of the province. Similarly, he continued, southern districts had also been given more share in sector-wise allocations ie school education 53 per cent, sports 40 per cent, health 39 per cent, roads infrastructures 41 per cent, agriculture 48 per cent, livestock 76 per cent and resource development 60 per cent.
The Punjab Finance Minister asserted that nine new hospitals would be constructed in deprived districts of Layyah, Mianwali, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, D.G.Khan, Multan and Rajanpur.
Responding to another query, he said the present government adopted the strategy that would end the problem of price-hike and dearness.
“You often say, don’t talk of the past but you must ponder over that why we are facing such problems today. The nations, which do not learn from the past, never advance further. We had two options whether to make grounds for winning next elections by concentrating on five years planning only, as had been done in the past, or opt the difficult way by taking corrective measures to put the economy on the right track that ensure far reaching results for economic stability. We have opted the second choice which seems very difficult today but guarantees brighter future,” he maintained.
Regarding out of school children, he said that education sector (School Education and Higher Education) was being given Rs 39.3 billion development budget, asserting that innovative measures were being taken by using the existing resources and infrastructure, and evening shift in educational institutions has been initiated under ‘Insaf School Programme’ that would help increase literacy rate.
To a question about increase in Chief Minister Office’s expenditures despite austerity claims, the minister clarified that since the CM Office’s budget consisted of various components and after the slashing the staff salary component, all other allowances had been reduced substantially.
For instance, entertainment allowance had been cut from Rs 110 million to Rs 30 million only, and the chief minister also made massive cut in his discretionary allowances/funds.