LAHORE: Punjab on Monday made a combined, and massive, allocation of Rs147 billion for agriculture and its sub-sectors – livestock, irrigation, forestry and food.
The allocation also includes Rs50 billion Chief Minister’s Relief Package, which he had announced in April. Out of this package, the Punjab plans to contribute Rs11.60 billion to the federal fertiliser subsidy on Urea and DAP.
The provincial government would also spend Rs17.70 billion on credit subsidies to the farmers. It would be in addition to the Rs7 billion to be spent on subsidising tubewell operations in the province. Another Rs1.80 billion will be spent on promotion of and subsidy on implements – laser land levelers, tractors, harvesters and bulldozers. The Cotton Seed Reform Programme will receive Rs3 billion and Drip Irrigation and Tunnel Farming will also be subsidised with Rs2.50 billion.
Another Rs10 billion have been earmarked for 25 on-going and 14 new schemes. The amount will be spent on Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity, Bio Mass Centre at University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), mechanisation of agriculture, turning Photohar region into Olive valley, Agriculture University at Multan, campus at Depalpur, high-value crop diversification and pesticide testing laboratories etc.
IRRIGATION: The finance bill allocates Rs41 billion for irrigation development in the province and Rs5 billion from the Chief Minister Relief Package. The budget will finance 138 on-going schemes and 57 new ones planned to be launched, covering conservation, drainage, flood management, irrigation system rehabilitation and institutional reforms.
The major expenditures will be incurred on rehabilitation of three barrages – Jinnah, Khanki and Sulemanki – where work is already under progress. This will be in addition to continued work on Greater Thal Canal Phase-II and 110km Jalapur Canal, which will irrigate 80 villages in the central Punjab area. Nine new small dams will be constructed during the year and six old ones will be repaired. Flood protection structures in the southern part of the province (DG Khan and Rojhan) to channelise hill torrents are also part of next year’s expenditures schemes.
LIVESTOCK: An amount of Rs5 billion has been earmarked to finance 16 on-going and 13 new livestock schemes. Last year, the sector got an allocation of Rs5 billion but only 2.68 billion were actually released out of the amount. The sector has also got Rs4 billion allocation from the Chief Minister’s Relief Package.
The major initiatives include provision of sheep and goats to the women in rural areas, establishing another veterinary university at Bahawalpur, development of rural poultry models, enhancing beef production, rehabilitation and modernisation of government livestock farms, revamping of semen production unit and enhancing competitiveness of livestock production system in Punjab.
FORESTRY: During 2016-17, Rs1.2 billion will be given to the forest department for 27 on-going and 10 new schemes. In the last budget Rs900 million were allocated for the sector. The allocation was later revised down to Rs814 million and actual release further came down to Rs652 million. This year’s allocation shows some 200 per cent increase.
Major works included in the budget are rehabilitation of Khanewal irrigated plantation, rehabilitation of Changa Manga forest and Jallo Park (Lahore) Safari and afforestation of Murree hills.
FOOD: Rs865 million have been allocated for the food department for five on-going and four new schemes. The amount will be spent on construction of concrete silos (30,000 tonnes capacity) at Ahmadpur East, construction of concrete silos (30,000 tonnes capacity) at Chishtian and food testing labs in the province.
Last year, Rs725 million were allocated, out of which 556 million were actually released and 30,000 tonnes capacity concrete silos were constructed at DG Khan.
Courtesy : Dawn News