LAHORE: The Punjab government has allocated Rs 550 billion for development plans and schemes for the fiscal year 2016-17, as compared to last year’s fiscal in which Rs 400 billion annual development plan were earmarked, reflecting a 37.5 percent increase in the development estimates. The budget stats reflect that out of total Rs 1,681.41 billion budget estimates, 32.71 percent (Rs 550 billion) have been kept for development purposes. Punjab Fianance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha has expected generation of 0.5 million new employment opportunities out of new and ongoing development schemes in the province. Out of the total development budget, Rs 64 billion have been estimated for education, including Rs 12 billion for higher education, Rs 6.6 million for special education, Rs 47 billion for schools education, which further includes spending of Rs 28 billion for missing facilities in schools, while Rs 1.8 billion have been kept for literacy. A sum of Rs 78,989 million for roads and bridges, Rs 45,528 million for irrigation, Rs 565 million for agriculture improvement and research, Rs 500 million for town development, Rs 35,919 million for government buildings, Rs 15,529 million for municipalities/autonomous bodies were approved by the government. For the ongoing development schemes, Rs 471 billion have been earmarked. Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company (PAMCO) would get Rs 400 million, Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (PIEDMIC) Rs 2,000 million, Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMIC) would get Rs 100 million, Punjab Self Employment Scheme (PSIC) Rs 3,000 million, Punjab Board of Information Technology (PBIT) Rs 150 million, Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) Rs 900 million, Punjab Skill Development Programme (PSDP) Rs 615 million, Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) Rs 3,000 million, Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) Rs 2,000 million, Punjab Mineral Corporation would get Rs 1,500 million, Social Protection Authority would get Rs 1,000 million, Punjab Commission on Status of Women (PCSW) would get Rs 100 million, construction of spurline for Sahiwal Coal Power Project/Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Private Limited – RLNG-based power project would get Rs 250 million more as compared to last year’s Rs 15,000 million. Similarly, special development package for Balochistan would receive Rs 2,000 million as compared to last year’s Rs 2,050 million, Urban Unit (Punjab Jobs and Competitiveness Programme for Results) would get Rs 500 million, Extended Health Coverage for Minorities Rs 300 million, sports Rs 500 million, Youth Internship Programme Rs 2,000 million and Aashiana Housing Scheme would get Rs 700 million. For agriculture research, Rs 19.394 billion have been kept aside by the government, including Rs 10 billion for communication and works, Rs 118 million for cooperative and Rs 4,150 million for energy department. A sum of Rs 185 million have been earmarked for environmental planning, Rs 251 for million for food, Rs 2,200 million for forestry, Rs 375 million for fisheries, Rs 13.8 billion for governance and information technology. Out of the total of Rs 121 billion allocated for Clean Drinking Water Project, which would be implemented in 10 districts of the province, Rs 30 billion would be released this year. For specialised healthcare, Rs 24 billion have been earmarked while this year no amount has been allocated for accelerated programme for healthcare, health sector reforms programme, medical education, population welfare and preventive healthcare programmes.