Tax-free budget of AJK

The AJK government, on Thursday, presented Rs 94.41b tax-free budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 in the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly. Presenting the budgetary proposals, Finance Minister Dr Najeeb Naqi said that despite challenges, a balanced budget has been unveiled. He said a huge amount of over Rs 22b had been proposed for the next fiscal year’s Annual Development Programme.
The Government of Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan deserves credit for formulating budgetary proposals in line with the aspirations of the people and needs of the liberated territory. The developmental vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also reflected in the budget of the AJK as not only allocations for ADP have been increased but there is also focus on infrastructure and energy projects, which have the potential to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development in Azad Kashmir, increase revenue collection and create more job opportunities. With increased allocations, huge development projects launched at the instance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the financial discipline of the incumbent AJK Government would surely bring about a positive change in the region. We have been emphasising in these columns that AJK is base-camp of the liberation movement and, therefore, it ought to be a role model for the other part of Kashmir, under occupation of India where Kashmiris are not only physically eliminated but their businesses too are systematically being destroyed by the occupation forces. In the past, some governments of AJK were accused of corruption and misuse of financial allocations but there are no such allegations against the present rulers. However, there is dire need to introduce policy and launch programmes that could meaningfully enhance state’s own revenue. There is huge untapped potential of tourism besides setting up of cottage and handicraft industries for the purpose.

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