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AJK unveils deficit budget with outlay of over Rs68 billion

AJK unveils deficit budget with outlay of over Rs68 billion

MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government unveiled a tax-free budget for FY2015-16 in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly on Monday with an outlay of over Rs68 billion, said a report published on Radio Pakistan.

The budget was presented in the House by AJK Finance Minister Chaudhry Latif Akbar who said there has been a 9.5 per cent increase in the new budget for developmental expenditure.

Out of the Rs68 billion budget, an estimate of Rs56.5 billion has been allocated for non-developmental or recurring expenditures and Rs11.5 billion for developmental activities. The report further said that a deficit of over Rs9.4 million will be met by the federal government.

Also read: AJK to unveil deficit budget today

As per the federal government's announcement, the finance minister also announced an increase in pay and pensions for government employees. While highlighting the priorities of the budget, Akbar said that the focus of the budget has been laid on education, power development, health, tourism and rural development sectors.

The Federal Ministry for Kashmir Affairs allocated Rs1.8 million for the completion of various development projects underway in Azad Kashmir. Akbar added that different developmental projects amounting to Rs32 billion will be launched by various federal ministries. These projects include Chaksawri Water Supply Scheme and Muzaffarabad-Mirpur-Mang Expressway.

For flood affected areas, the minister said that Asian Development Bank will provide Rs8.5 billion for the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure. Moreover, Rs7 billion have also been reserved for reconstruction projects in quake-hit parts of Azad Kashmir.

The finance minister also said that the Islamic Development Bank will contribute over Rs5 billion for the completion of 337 educational institutions in areas that were affected by floods and earthquakes.

Development projects launched by various federal ministries in AJK will also include a women's university and medical colleges. It was also proposed by the government to establish an Islamic university in Mirpur, Akbar said.

The launch of the prime minister's Green Cab Scheme was also announced in the House by the finance minister as a means of overcoming unemployment in the state. Akbar added that the budget anticipates provision of jobs for the unemployed, educated youth of AJK.

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