PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra on Tuesday presented the province’s budget for the financial year 2019-20. The total budget will be Rs900 billion, out of which Rs236 billion will be allocated to the development programme. Out of the total outlay, spending on the annual development programme has been suggested to be Rs236bn. A rise of 10 per cent in salaries of provincial government employees and minimum labour wage Rs17,000 have been proposed in the provincial budget. The federal government has allocated a hefty amount of Rs48 billion in public sector development programme (PSDP) 2019-20 to improve socio-economic condition of the people from the tribal belt. The government has earmarked the huge amount for speedy uplift of the merged areas under 10 years’ development plan in the budget 2019-20. The budget speech was delivered in the KP assembly amidst protests and sloganeering by the opposition against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) government in the centre for not issuing production orders of PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari. According to the budget speech, provincial income taxes are being increased for the year 2019-20. According to the newly proposed regime, individuals with Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 monthly income will pay Rs330 per month. The next slab of people, with an income of Rs20,000 to Rs50,000, will have to pay Rs350 per month. A tax of Rs600 per month has been proposed for those individuals earning between Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 per month. The individuals falling in the next slab of Rs100,000 to Rs200,000 monthly income will have to pay Rs800 monthly. Similarly, Rs1,000 per month tax has been proposed for those earning Rs200,000 to half a million rupees. As far as public sector employees are concerned, the provincial government has proposed zero taxation for grade one to four employees of the provincial government. Rs100 in tax per month will be charged from the employees of grade five to 12, Rs200 tax per month will be charged from provincial government employees of grade 13 to 16, Rs300 monthly tax for grade 17, Rs500 per month for grade 18, Rs1,000 for 19, and Rs2,000 for grade 20 officers. Misal Khan, a retired Information Officer said the allocation would help remove the sense of deprivation of people and expedite the pace of economic development in the merged areas. “Following the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, expediting the pace of economic activities in all socio-economic sectors especially in education, health, communication, clean drinking water, livestock and agriculture in need of the hour in tribal areas,” he said. In addition to the allocation of Rs152 billion in the federal budget 2019-20, he said earmarking of Rs48 billion in the PSDP for merged areas has shown strong commitment of the present government towards development people of merged areas. “Problems of people of merged areas would be largely addressed if priority was given to the development of social sectors including education, health, water, agriculture, livestock and communication sectors,” he said, adding tribal people are largely depended on these socio-economic sectors. The budget session is being chaired by Speaker Mushtaque Ghani.