Punjab is not getting a fair deal from the Federal government as it is depriving the most populous province of Rs 550 billion every year from its share of national wealth, Punjab Water Council (PWC) said here on Friday. Analysing and comparing the budgets of the four provinces, President PWC Chaudhry Hamid Malhi said the provincial budget outlays of the four provinces revealed startling information about the capacity of each government to spend on development for the betterment of its people.
Punjab Government has an estimated budget of Rs 871 billion, Sindh has 617 Billion, KPK has 344 billion and Balochistan has 199 billion. He said that if the population of the 3 provinces were added together they form 45 percent of the total population while Punjab has 55 percent of the country’s population. For every million of people Sindh spends Rs 16.68 bllion, KPK spends Rs 12.28 billion while Balochistan spends more than Rs 50 billion. Unfortunately Punjab, the largest province, spends only Rs 9.89 billion per million of its residents which is much lower than the fiscal space of the other provinces.
Malhi said the accumulated budget outlay of the three provinces with 45 percent of the total populace amounts to Rs 1160 billion which is Rs 289 billion more than that of Punjab. To achieve the same level of budgetary provisions Punjab is short by Rs 547 Billion.
This shows the constraints under which the Government of Punjab has to balance its act as compared to the rest of the country. And this is not all the Federal funding of Rs 221 Billion for energy and water sector would mostly be spent in KPK, AJK, or GB. All Federal funding in Chichoki Mallian & Nandipur projects was stalled for the last 5 years just for the reason that those projects happened to be in Punjab. Why not build Kala Bagh Dam as per the water and energy requirements of Punjab, he questioned. He said that Punjab budget should have been above Rs 1400 billion and the deficit of 550 billion means more poverty, lesser health and education facilities and less infrastructure development.