Balochistan government unveils Rs215bn budget for 2014-15
With an aim to improve key social indicators, the Balochistan government claims to have given top priority to the education and health sectors in the financial budget for the year 2014-15.
Mir Khalid Langove, finance adviser to the Balochistan chief minister, presented in the provincial assembly on Thursday evening a deficit budget with total volume of over Rs215billion, as compared to Rs198.395bn total outlay for last year’s budget. The Balochistan government has decided to establish two universities and 14 new colleges, and upgrade 200 primary schools to middle schools to impart quality education to students. “The government has allocated a substantial amount for repair of impoverished schools across the province,” said Langove. He said that a cadet college would be established at the Chaman border-town at the cost of Rs1 billion. Universities would be established at Gwadar, Turbat and Loralai areas to ensure access to higher education to students in their own areas, he said.
Regarding the health sector, Langove said that 70 vaccination centers would be set up across the province and Rs1billion were allocated for the purchase of equipment for government-run hospitals. Similarly, Rs1.24 billion’s have been allocated for the provision of free medicine to patients across Balochistan. “Now Balochistan can be called a polio-free province,” Langove said while referring to poliovirus. With regard to law and order, he told the house that 27 per cent budget for law and order was increased and that the government had decided to impart modern training to police. He said the provincial government had allocated more than RS17bn for law and order, up from Rs16 billion. Similarly, the coalition government has also decided to increase compensation for the victims of terrorism from Rs2 million to Rs4 million. For the promotion of the agriculture sector, he said Rs6.35 million were allocated whereas Rs3 billion were allocated for the purchase of 200 new bulldozers in the province.
In an effort to improve governance, the Balochistan government has also banned the purchase of luxury vehicles as well as visits of legislators and bureaucrats to foreign countries through government funds. Despite the financial constraints and backwardness of the province, the government has increased the non-development expenditures from Rs154 billion to Rs164 billion. However, the government increased the funds for the public sector development program from last year’s Rs43.913 billion to Rs50.742 billion this year. Last year’s infighting among the coalition partners over attractive portfolios caused a six-month delay in the formation of the cabinet in Balochistan. The provincial government could not complete the development projects owing to delayed formation of the cabinet. “Government could not use more than Rs2 billion for development projects,” a well-placed source in the Balochistan government told Dawn. Moreover, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Malik Baloch told Dawn.com that the funds would not lapse and a mechanism was prepared to re-use it upon completion of ongoing projects. The government also increased the salaries and pensions of government employees by 10 per cent. (Courtesy to Dawn)