imageLAHORE: Lawmakers describing the provincial budget 2016-17 people-friendly and pro-farmers said on Thursday that it would open new vistas of development.

“The budget reflects aspirations of the masses as it is an exemplary and revolutionary one," they added.

The members, taking part in the general discussion on annual budget for the fiscal 2016-17 in the Punjab Assembly, said the government had presented a welfare-oriented budget which would bring about a radical change in the living standard of people.

The debate on the budget 2016-17 commenced with opening remarks by Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rashid followed by other members.

The session started with Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair 59 minutes behind its schedule time.

Parliamentary Secretary Rana Muhammad Arshad congratulated the Punjab government for giving a pro-poor and public-friendly budget. He said, all segments of society were covered in the budget. He was highly praised of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for providing incentives to the common man. He said, the PML-N government believed in serving the masses and in this regard solid steps were taken in the budget for welfare of people.

He cited an example of the Orange Line Metro Train and Saaf Pani projects and said these would help provide a modern mean of transportation to people besides providing them potable drinking water.

Rana Arshad said due to excellent performance, people would elect the PML-N leadership in the next general elections.

Taking part in the budget debate, PPP's Parliamentary leader Qazi Ahmed Saeed put various suggestions for improving life style of people from different walks of life. He also called for development funds to opposition members.

A treasury member, Shahzadi Gulnar, said the government had taken commendable steps in the budget for welfare of women.

Another member, Zaibun Nisa, termed the budget balanced and farmers-friendly and said the government had come up with ideal incentives package for the farming community.

“An allocation of Rs. 147 billion for progress of the agriculture sector is a laudable step," she said adding that another Rs. 100 billion for providing loans to small farmers would enable them to buy fertilizers, seeds and pesticides.

Faiza Mushtaq welcoming the budget said huge allocation of Rs 56.76 billion for the education sector was an ample proof of the government seriousness towards promotion of education and achieving 100pc literacy rate till 2020. She said, 100 percent enrolment of children to schools and provision of missing facilities in educational institutions were atop among priorities of the government.

Malik Mazhar Abbas, a treasury member, welcomed hefty allocation of funds for South Punjab and suggested that 100 per cent utilization of funds be ensured for the development of the area.

Maulana Illyas Chinioti also highlighted various aspects of the budget.

The general discussion of the provincial budget 2016-17 will continue till June 21 while voting on annual demands will be on June 22 and June 23.

On June 24, besides Finance Bill 2016, annual budget for the fiscal 2016-17 would be approved by the House.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2016