LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the Punjab government has presented a balanced and tax-free budget of Rs583.64 billion despite unfavorable economic conditions, terrorism and energy crisis. He said a record development programme of Rs193.50 billion has also been prepared. He said this is best welfare budget in the present circumstances and the government has proved that all the resources are being reserved for the masses and no stone will be left unturned for their welfare. He said this during a meeting with senior journalists, and intellectuals at the CMs Secretariat here Wednesday. He said the tax-free budget has exposed the claims of detractors of the Punjab government and proved their propaganda ineffective and baseless. He said misleading statements were given about south Punjab. He said that projects of Rs42 billion were completed in south Punjab in 2009-10 whereas Rs52 billion have been allocated for south Punjab in the next fiscal year. He said 60 percent of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund and 90 percent of Punjab Education Foundation are being spent in southern Punjab. He said that allegations were also levelled that Rs30 billion have been spent on Sasti Roti scheme, but in fact Rs4.5 billion were spent on this scheme last year. He said those who got billions of rupees loans waived off, plundered national resources and committed a dacoity of Rs50 billion in Punjab Bank are irked by spending of a few billion rupees on this welfare programme for the widows, orphans and deprived segments of society. He said it is a fact that the poor have nothing to do with the development if they are not able to make both ends meet. He said there might be flaws in Sasti Roti scheme and government is trying to remove loopholes. He said that a huge amount of development funds is pilfered and the government is taking all possible steps to eliminate corruption. He deplored that resources were plundered in the name of development projects during previous regime and Lahore-Kasur Road is the most glaring example where contractors took away billions of rupees. He said that Punjab Youth Employment Fund has been set up for youth, which will enable educated and skilled people to become self-sufficient and play their role in the development of the country. He said the project of mobile hospitals, the first ever in the history of the country, is being started in southern Punjab. The CM said the Punjab budget reflects the resolve of the Punjab government to utilize resources on the less developed areas of the province.