Punjab cabinet greenlights 4-month budget


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LAHORE: In the 31st meeting of the Punjab Cabinet held today at the Chief Minister’s Office, Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi presided over a pivotal decision as the government approved a budget for the forthcoming four months spanning November 2023 to February 2024. The approved budget stands at a substantial Rs2076.2 billion, which includes an allocation of Rs351 billion for development expenditure.

During the session, a significant allocation of Rs50 billion was earmarked to provide relief to the province’s residents. Moreover, substantial funds were allocated to pivotal sectors, with the health sector receiving Rs208 billion and the education sector securing Rs222 billion. An additional Rs10 billion were designated to advance the agricultural sector.

The Cabinet also allocated Rs1 billion 80 crore for the National Health Support Programme and Rs5 billion for Punjab textbooks. In a proactive measure to address climate change challenges, Rs7 billion 30 crore were allocated for necessary initiatives.

A significant milestone was achieved with the Cabinet’s approval of implementing a minimum wage of Rs32,000 for workers, effective from July 1, 2023. The meeting also underscored the importance of stringent anti-smog measures, with a particular focus on areas like Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Lahore, and Kasur. Naqvi emphasised a zero-tolerance approach towards violations of these measures and called for the rigorous enforcement of regulations on smoke-emitting vehicles and brick kilns, directing commissioners and deputy commissioners to ensure compliance.

Stringent measures were advised for ongoing construction projects, including the regular sprinkling of water and a strict prohibition on crop residue burning. The Punjab Price Control for Essential Commodities Ordinance 2023 also received Cabinet approval.

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