The National Assembly Wednesday passed Finance Bill 2011 giving legal effect to the budgetary proposals for the next financial year. With this, the new budget with a total outlay 2767 billion rupees stands approved. A number of amendments proposed by the Finance Minister were incorporated in the Finance Bill including those envisaging tax concessions for industrial undertakings. Senate had given 66 recommendations out of which 20 have been accommodated in the final version of the Finance Bill. New industrial undertakings for manufacturing in the country will get a tax credit equal to 100 per cent of the tax payable on the taxable income arising from such undertaking for five years. Similarly tax credit will also be allowed for balancing, modernization, replacement or expansion of the plant and machinery installed in an industrial undertaking before first of July this year. An amendment in the Finance Act envisages that members of the parliament who have served one term will also be entitled to medical facilities. Amendments moved by opposition members to different clauses of the Bill were rejected by the House after debate and voting. 55 percent the development allocations have been made for the infrastructure sector while 44% for the social sectors. Within the infrastructure, priority has been given to water sector with a view to meeting irrigation and power needs. An allocation of 32.5 billion rupees is planned for power generation, transmission, distribution and conservation. Apart from this there will be an investment of 83 billion rupees which WAPDA and PEPCO will make through their own resources. These investments will go a long way in addressing the problem of the load-shedding in the country. 18 billion rupees have been earmarked for Diamir Bhasha Dam, 10.8 billion rupees for 1000 megawatt Neelum-Jhelum Hydel project, 14.6 billion rupees for Guddu Combine Cycle Power Project and 13.9 billion rupees for Chichukimalian Thermal Power Project. 15.5 billion rupees have been allocated in the budget for Chashma Nuclear power plants three and four which would generate 600 megawatts of electricity. Transport and communication would get 15 billion rupees out of which 35 billion rupees have been earmarked for National Highway Authority and 15 billion rupees for Railways. Higher Education Commission would continue to be the fiscal responsibility of the federal government and it will get 40 billion rupees in the next budget. The budget has allocations worth 28 billion rupees for development of FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Thirty-three billion rupees have been allocated for small infrastructure schemes under Peoples Works Programmes to be implemented on recommendations of the members of the parliament. Defence allocations have been kept at 495.2 billion rupees while 166.4 billion rupees have been allocated for subsidies. The new budget allocates 790.9 billion rupees for payment of interest on loans. Federal Government employees would get 15 percent increase in their salaries with effect from 1st of next month. Adhoc relief allowances allowed up to first of July 2009 would be merged with pay scales of 2008 and new pay scales would be introduced. The budget envisages increase in the conveyance allowance of employees in grade-1 to 15 and their counterparts in armed forces by 25%. All government employees and members of the armed forces would get conveyance allowance at specified rates irrespective of their place of postings. It also envisages compulsory monetization of transport facility of federal employees from grade twenty to twenty-two. Pensioners who retired on or after Ist of July 2002 would get15% increase in the pensions and 20 percent increase in pensions of those who retired on or before 30th of June 2002. The budget envisages reduction in the rate of sales tax from 17% to 16%; all special excise duties abolished; 15 items out of the list of 46 federal excises are removed from the excise law; 392 regulatory duties out of 397 have been abolished, limiting these to luxury vehicles, cigarettes, arms and ammunitions, betel nuts and sanitary ware and tiles. Federal Excise Duty on cement reduced by 200 rupee per metric ton and that on beverages reduced to six percent. Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh thanked the House for its contribution in the passage of the Bill and said the House held longest ever debate on the budget.