Rs 600 bn Punjab budget today: Sana | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Rs 600 bn Punjab budget today: Sana

LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that the Punjab government will present over Rs600 billion annual budget for 2011-12 on Friday (today).

He said it would be Rs 6 billion deficit budget after turning down the foreign aid which would be overcome through austerity measures and enhancing taxation network on the elite class.

He was briefing the media on budget in the provincial assembly cafeteria here on Friday.

Sana claimed that the provincial government would earmark Rs200 billion on the Annual Development Programme out of the total outlay of Rs600 billion. He said the provincial cabinet had decided to give up foreign aid but it would not affect the common man. He said that out of total Rs6 billion estimated foreign aid, around Rs3 billion would be compensated by the governmentís austerity drive and the remaining Rs3 billion would be collected from enhancing taxes on the elite.

The law minister said that the fiscal deficit due to the rejection of foreign aid would not affect the ongoing development schemes, however, he said that before the budget speech, he could not talk about the numbers or status of development schemes.

About the budget session, he said the session would continue from June 10 to 22, four days from June 13 to 16 had been reserved for general discussion on the budget, June 17 and 18 for discussion on annual demands and on June 21, general discussion would be held on the supplementary budget. He said the Punjab budget for 2011-2012 would be approved on June 22 through voting in the House.

He said that during general discussion, positive criticism and suggestions of the opposition regarding the budget would not only be honoured but also be accommodated. He said that all the membersí proposals during pre-budget session had been made the part of incoming budget. He said many schemes like the Yellow Cab Scheme were likely to be re introduced while lot of funds had been allocated for self-employment of the youth.

On the current political situation, the law minister said that former Federal Law Minister Babar Awan and the Presidency were engaged in hatching conspiracies against the Punjab government and the PML-Nís leaderships. He said Punjab Governor Latif Khosa and Babar Awan were from lawyers and had been considered black sheep in black coats. He said they had taken money in the name of courts and judges and they did not have any right to interfere and criticise the Punjab government.

He said the Presidency had join hands with Qatil league (PML-Q) and their agenda was only to ìLutto and Larke Lutto and Phutto.î He said Awan, who was contesting Zulfikar Bhuttoís case in Supreme Court, once said that Awanís words in court were those of Bhuttoís. He said that Shaheed Bhutto was a leader he was not a Satan like Awan who had distributed sweets when Bhutto was hanged.

The law minister lashed out at the role of security agencies in the country. He said that voice of Balochis against the security agencies from the last decades had been proved to be facts when one came to see Karachiís Wednesday incident where Rangers personnel had brutally killed a young man. He said the role of security agencies had been shifted from border security to fighting against those who they were supposed to protect. He said the mandate of security agencies was to protect the country and to sacrifice their lives for the dignity and sovereignty of the county but the role had been reversed after May 2 Abbottabad incident and May 22 PNS Mehran attack in Karachi. He said that slain journalist Saleem Shehzad had been brutally tortured and killed and all signs behind the murder were pointing towards the security agencies. He said that if any banned outfit had killed Shehzad over his disputed story, how it could erase data from the record of his cell phone.

Sana said the Punjab government, keeping in view the report of flood commission, had removed the Irrigation secretary from the post. He said the Punjab government had the majority to pass the budget, adding that according to the law, the Unification bloc could vote in favour of the budget because they were in majority.

When asked about Kamran Michael fiasco, Sana said that it was not in the knowledge of the Punjab government that it had assigned portfolio of Finance department to Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael, so it had notified the Excise and Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman as the finance minister. He said when it came in the knowledge of the provincial government, it had superseded its decision, however, Michael would present the budget.
Source: The News