AJK unveils Rs139.5b tax-free budget with Rs24.5b growth outlay

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Mubashar Naqvi

Muzaffarabad

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Thursday presented a public friendly and historic tax free budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 amounting to over 1.39 trillion and revised budget for 2019-20 to over 1.18 trillion rupees. Presenting the budget at the AJK Legislative Assembly here on Thursday, Minister for Finance Dr. Najeeb Naqi said total revenue has been projected to the tune of over 1.15 trillion rupees, which include the estimate of 1.5 billion rupees as capital expenditure. ‘The government will receive 28.5 billion rupees from tax revenue, FBR taxes, 70 billion state receipts and 19 billion on other miscellaneous receipts.
The Minister informed that Rs.24.5 billion have been proposed for the Annual Development Program (ADP). 72 percent funds of the ADP have been proposed for the ongoing while 28 percent for the new schemes. 199 schemes would be accomplished during the next financial year’, the Minister informed. He said projecting Kashmir cause, maintaining good governance and achieving sustainable development were three top most priorities of the AJK government.
The Minister Finance thanked the federal government for allocating funds for the development of liberated territory in the prevailing financial constraints. ‘A project costing over 3.64 billion rupees for the Indian firing affectees has been incorporated in the federal development program. About 3 billion rupees has been proposed for the ongoing schemes under the Minister for Kashmir Affairs’, minister added. He informed the house that 640 kilometer long roads connecting AJK with Pakistan and district and tehsils would be accomplished in the next financial year. Moreover, work on Authmuqam-Kail Tao Butt road has been initiated. 725 kilometer long link roads would be developed. A project costing 5 billion rupees has been included in the development program to promote tourism and trade activities in the region.
Dr. Najeeb Naqi told that the government has allocated 72 percent of the budget for the infrastructure development with main focus on communication, hydropower generation, tourism, education and health sectors in the state. ‘Three power projects have been completed during the current financial year while 14.4 megawatt Jheeng Hydel power project is in the last stage of completion. Work on 127 megawatt different hydel power projects would continue during the next financial year’ Naqi informed. He further said that government has identified hydel power projects with capacity of 9257 megawatt electricity. ‘245 megawatt hydel power projects will gradually be completed by 2023. These projects will help the AJK government generate 10 billion rupees annually’, he added. He, while elaborating silent features of the budget said three testing laboratories for COVID-19 have been setup at divisional level.