imageLAHORE: Treasury benches lawmakers, terming the annual Budget 2016-17 a masterpiece, said on Friday that revolutionary steps have been taken for providing relief to common man and farmers this year.

They urged the opposition to come up with positive suggestions instead of opposing the budget for the sake of opposition.

On the second day of discussion on the budget, only the treasury members spoke and praised the government for presenting an exemplary and unique budget which covered all segments of society. “The budget reflects aspirations of masses and provides relief to farmers to help them procure double fram production," they added.

Today, the session started with Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair 20 minutes behind its schedule.

Soon after recitation from the Holy Quran, a treasury member, Madiha Rana, taking part in the budget debate, eulogised the Punjab government for giving a welfare-oriented budget. She said Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif had won hearts of the people by giving a pro-poor and public-friendly budget.

She slammed the opposition for undue criticism on the annual budget. “The PML-N government believes in serving the masses and solid steps are being taken for welfare of people," Madiha said.

Najma Begum said that the government had come up with a farmer- and education-friendly budget. She said that the opposition started criticising the budget without getting through all aspects of the documents. She commended hefty Rs 173 billion allocation for development of southern Punjab. She also praised Saaf Pani project of the government and suggested include Dera Ghazi Khan in this project.

Taking part in the budget debate, Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal said that the government had offered ideal incentives to the farming community. “Allocation of Rs 100 billion for loans to small farmers and purchase of agri medicines was laudable step," he said.

Hailing Rs 56.76 billion allocation for education sector, Dr Farzana Nazir observed that it showed government's seriousness towards promotion of education.

Munnawar Ghous suggested withdrawal of agriculture income tax on growers or deferring it for at least during the current year.

Another member Abdur Rauf Mughal said that revolutionary steps had been taken in the budget with regards to agriculture sector.

A minority member Tariq Masih Gill, describing the Punjab budget as people-friendly, said that the opposition was fearful of its future after 2018.

Malik Muhammad Arshad suggested that an export policy should be made for farmers, while Amjad Ali Javed demanded for setting up Intermediate and Secondary Education Commission.

Abdur Razak Dhilon flayed those creating impediments through politics of sit-ins and vowed to continue the journey of development in the country.

Legislators Waheed Gull and Malik Javed Awan also spoke in favour of the Punjab budget.

On completion of day's agenda, the chair adjourned the assembly session till Monday (June 20) at 11:00 am.

The discussion on the budget 2016-17 would continue till June 21, while voting on annual demands would be held on June 22-23.

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

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2016