Punjab unveiled historic, people-friendly, tax-free budget, says minister

Punjab unveiled historic, people-friendly, tax-free budget, says minister


Marriyum addresses post-budget presser, says it is Punjab’s cashback budget

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LAHORE (Dunya News) – The Punjab government has unveiled a historic, people-friendly and tax-free budget, Senior Punjab Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a post-budget press conference in Lahore on Friday.

Aurangzeb referred to the provincial budget for the financial year 2024-25 a cashback budget, stating that it was not like the budgets presented previously. “Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has unveiled a tax-free budget for Punjab.”

The minister said that the new budget served as a policy statement, making difficult decisions while providing stability to both the people and the economy. “Maryam Nawaz is working hard day and night to correct the direction of the economy.”

Aurangzeb denied accepting the assertion made by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), saying that the incumbent Punjab government did not place their plaques on projects launched by the former [PTI] provincial government.

Showcasing prominent features of the budget, the minister emphasised that the subjects of health and education have been prioritised.

Regarding the allocations for the health sector, the minister said that the basic health units and other health facilities would undergo complete reconstruction in this budget. She also highlighted the benefits of the recently launched initiatives of Clinic on Wheels and Field Hospitals, stating that over 0.6 million people benefitted from the Clinic on Wheels initiative and thousands from the Field Hospitals project.

Moving on to the education sector, Aurangzeb said that for the first time in the education sector, there was an increased focus on teacher training and the quality of education. She mentioned a project formulated in the education sector with private sector partnership.

Touching on agriculture, Aurangzeb said that the Punjab government initiated the Kisan Card interest-free loan scheme to facilitate the farming community.

On the development side, the minister disclosed that funds were earmarked in the budget for [the procurement of] advanced machinery for tractors.

Aurangzeb also mentioned the allocation for solar technology on the development side.

Regarding solid waste management, the minister said that funds to the tune of Rs120 billion were earmarked for solid waste management and an end-to-end plan was being devised across the province.

According to the minister, an allocation of up to Rs25 billion has been made for the wildlife, fisheries and forestry.

Spotlighting smog as a major issue facing the provincial capital, Aurangzeb said that a plan for smog-less Lahore had been drawn up.

The minister also noted the commencement of targeted planning under the Social Economic Registry.

She also claimed that a reduction in inflation had been noted in the past three months.

Regarding salary and pension increases, Aurangzeb said that 17 percent increase in pension was approved in Punjab, while the minimum wage had been increased to Rs37,000.

According to the minister, funds amounting to Rs1 billion have been spared in the budget for the journalist community.

She claimed that no tax had been imposed in the budget but acknowledged both federal and Punjab budgets had drawn criticism in recent days.