| GEO Business|
| Rs47.332bn AJK deficit budget presented|
| Updated at: 1641 PST, Friday, June 18, 2010|
MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government Friday announced an overall consolidated budget of Rs 47.332 billion for fiscal year 2010-11 with a record deficit of over Rs 17.6050 billion, allocating Rs 11.1749 billion for Annual Development Programme (ADP).
AJK Minister for Finance Raja Nisar Ahmad Khan presented the budget in the AJK Legislative Assembly, which was presided over by Speaker of the Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir.
The opposition boycotted the budget speech of the Finance Minister after a short protest in the house against non-provision of their development funds during the outgoing fiscal year.
The budget sets aside Rs 11.174965 billion for development, up by 10 per cent over the outgoing fiscal year's original allocation of Rs 9.555 billion as compared to original spending of Rs 7.13 billion.
The finance minister hoped that the federal government would provide grant in aid to meet the development expenditures deficit.
The total revenue receipts were estimated as Rs 22.9 billion including share from the taxes of Kashmir council income from local resources of Rs 9.92 billion, Mangla Dam water usage charges Rs750 million, share from AJK council taxes Rs 4.5 billion, and share from federal taxes Rs 6.68 billion.
The finance minister announced 50 per cent ad hoc increase in the salaries of the government employees, police officials, pensions and medical allowance following the federal government's initiative.
However, he did not announce any cut in the salaries of ministers and government functionaries as the federal and provincial governments did by cutting down their expenditures.
It is pertinent to mention that AJK has the biggest cabinet of its history with all treasury members except one having the portfolio.
The finance minister in his budget speech said the share of the federal government in the new National Finance Commission (NFC) award was reduced, which had also affected the AJK share putting his government in financial crunch.
"If we are provided net profit over the hydro-electric projects, complete share from the federal taxes and Kashmir property, we might not need any grant in aid to bridge the gap between income and expenditures," he informed the house.
The minister said the government need extra seven billion rupees in the current expenditures head to raise the salaries of government employees, Judiciary, police and 100 percent increase in the medical allowance of grade 1 to 15 employees and 15 percent of higher grade officials.
In the development budget, priority has been given to transport and communication sector by allocating a sum of Rs 4.18 billion for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, besides fixing Rs 1.5 billion for development projects in the power sector.
Local government departments would be provided Rs one billion during the next fiscal year while Rs 916 million have been allocated for foreign funded projects. The education sector would get Rs 800 million for its development schemes.
The minister announced to regularize 1100 contractual employees during the fiscal year starting from July 1, but no new post has been announced in the budget.
In the non-development expenditures head, a junk amount of Rs 7.594 billion have been allocated for the education sector, Rs 5.30 billion for electricity department, Rs 3.31 billion in the head of miscellaneous expenditures, Rs 2.5 billion for state trading, Rs1.82 billion for health, Rs 1.17 billion for general administration, Rs 1.6 billion for the payment pension and Rs 1.58 billion for police department.
The minister also presented the revised budget estimates of Rs 32.78 billion for the outgoing fiscal year 2009-10 in the house, out of which Rs 25.65 were for non-development expenditures and Rs 7.13 for the development expenditures. The revised budget shows a deficit of Rs 5.5 billion.
The house will debate the budget for the fiscal year 2010-11 and revised budget for the outgoing fiscal year from Monday after a two days pause.