LAHORE – An allocation of Rs48 billion has been proposed for Punjab agriculture sector development and non-development programmes during fiscal year 2016-17.

The government claimed to spent another Rs50 billion under Kissan Package for the welfare of  farmers in the province. Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had announced a total Rs100 billion package for the farmers which would be utilized in two years.

An allocation of Rs10.72 billion was proposed last year for 16 ongoing and 17 new development schemes of agriculture sector but the government diverted Rs 2.5 billion from the outlay to Orange Line Train and released around Rs7 billion for agriculture schemes.

The government planned to execute 25 ongoing and 14 new schemes under agriculture sector during the current financial year, according to the budget document. Major service delivery targets are: improvement of 1200 water courses, installation of 16500 aces of irrigation system, provision of 3,000 laser units to farmers, service providers, 150 training courses, rehabilitation of 450 irrigation schemes in non-canal areas and demonstration of 312 plots for enhancing vegetable production.

Similarly, Rs11.6 billion would be spent on subsidy on fertilizers under Kissan Package, Rs17-7 billion on interest free credit and smart phone for farmers, Rs7 billion on subsidy on electric tubewells, Rs3 billion on cotton seed reforms projects, Rs2.5 billion on Punjab Warehouse Receipt Financing System, Rs2.1 billion on high value agriculture, Rs 1.8 billion on high tech mechanization service centres, Rs one billion on farmers cooperatives and Rs3.3 billion on other initiatives.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has proposed allocation of Rs53.8 billion for irrigation sector. There are 138 numbers of total schemes in the ADP 2016-17, in which 81 are ongoing and 57 are new schemes. The major among, according to the budget document, are: new Khanki Barrage construction project, Lower Bari Doab Canal improvement project, lining of distributors and minors in Punjab, rehabilitation and up-gradation of Trimmu Barrage, Punjnad Headworks, Pakpattan  Canal and Sulemanki Barrage and Greater Thal Canal project.

Punjab government allocated Rs13 billion for development and non-development schemes livestock and dairy development department for year 2016-17 against the last year’s allocation of Rs6 billion. The government, however, had diverted major chunk of funds for the livestock department to Orange Line Train during 2015-16 and major schemes were remained incomplete.