Government Presents Rs 2.96
Fittingly, the unprecedented fifth budget session of a democratically elected government was an extraordinary one. With earphones firmly plugged in to keep out the raucous jeers and sloganeering from the opposition benches, Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh gamely kept reading his prepared speech in his distinctive monotone. The total proposed outlay of the federal budget 2012-13 has been pegged at Rs.2.96 trillion and the government has set the target for the fiscal deficit at 4.7 percent or Rs.1.1 trillion. Of the budget pie, the biggest chunk – a whopping 1.876 trillion – has been given to General Public Service; Rs.545.38 billion for defence; Rs.7.84 billion for health and Rs.47.8bn for education. The proposed outlay on the Public Sector Development Programme is another Rs.360 billion while Rs.154 billion set aside for 'other development expenditures'.
To finance this party, the government is hoping to realise some Rs.3.234 trillion in gross federal revenues, up 18.3 percent from Rs.2.732 trillion in FY 12. Of the federal revenue collection, a sum of Rs.1.459 billion is to be transferred to the provinces under the 7th NFC award.
Among the toys and whistles promised to the electorate are a 20 percent raise in salaries and pensions of federal employees, which are expected to have an impact of less than Rs.30 billion per annum.
The allocation for the Benazir Income Support Programme has been upped by Rs.10 billion to Rs.60 billion against the previous year's allocation of Rs.50 billion. The government has also allocated another Rs.10 billion under the head of citizen's compensation programme. An allocation of Rs.9.7 billion has been made for loans to the poor to reduce poverty and another Rs.25 billion in miscellaneous grants are to be used for the betterment of people. An additional Rs.3 billion are intended for the poverty alleviation fund; Rs.2 billion are for the Benazir Tractor Scheme. For the upcoming fiscal year, some Rs 209 billion have been set aside as subsidies for various sectors of economy as compared to last year's initial allocation of Rs.166.448, which swelled to Rs.515.292 billion by the end of the fiscal year. Rs209bn set aside for subsidies; gross federal revenues estimated at Rs3.234 trillion; income tax exemption limit increased to Rs400,000; sales tax on black tea reduced from 16pc to 5pc; FED abolished on 10 more items; tax on CNG sector increased; 100 youth to get technical training; Rs10 bn for citizen compensation programme; highest tariff rates reduced from 35pc to 30pc; FED on cement reduced.