GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) government on Friday presented a tax-free budget of over Rs 680.29 billion for 2020-21.
The budget was presented by Minister Law and Parliamentary Affairs Aurangzeb Khan in the GB Legislative Assembly session chaired by Deputy Speaker Jafarullah Khan.
Aurangzeb Khan in his speech said COVID-19 outbreak, which has not only been a health crisis but has also created economic issues due to lockdown imposed throughout the country.
He said the GB government initiated a humanist approach to battle this pandemic, similar to China, Taiwan, and other countries. He said the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is totally different in the region and under control.
He said an amount of Rs. 50 crore has been allocated for the prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic in the region.
Aurangzeb Khan said the budget of the health department has been increased by 16.1pc to Rs1.27 billion allocated for the health sector.
The government has also allocated 6 billion rupees for subsidy on wheat and 1.8 billion rupees for transportation, the official said.
Development Programme and education
Aurangzeb said that the Public Sector Development Programme has an outlay of more than Rs25bn and the development budget includes Rs1.59bn for education.
GB government has set aside funds for the construction of new school buildings, provision of necessary facilities including drinking water, walls and provision of furniture and up-gradation of schools.
Government employees salaries
Gilgit-Baltistan has decided to increase the salaries of government employees from grades one to sixteen by 15% whereas grades 17 and above will receive a salary increment of 10%.
Forest Department and Wildlife and energy sector
The Minister Law and Parliamentary Affairs said 98.6 million allocated for Forest Department and Wildlife and Environment. With GB continuing to face an energy crisis, the minister said Rs2.73bn has been allocated for power generation.
Similarly, only 114 million have been allocated to boost the tourism industry in the region. He added that Rs90.80m have been allotted for agriculture and livestock, Rs19.42m for food department