With the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government unveiling its second budget in the National Assembly (NA) on Friday, Twitterati are losing it over nearly Rs1.3 trillion being allocated for defence against not even Rs84 billion for education in the Rs7.13 trillion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020-21.
One trillion equals 1,000 billion.
According to Dawn, the government has proposed Rs1.29 trillion defence allocation for the next fiscal year, representing an 11.8 per cent increase over the original allocation for the outgoing year. Federal Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar, while presenting the budget in the National Assembly, said that defence and internal security have been given adequate attention in the budget.
The military had last year forgone a major hike because of the economic challenges then facing the country and settled for a raise of 4.74 per cent, but by the end of the year, it had overshot the allocation by 6.33 per cent.
The original allocation for last year was Rs1.15 trillion, but according to revised figures presented before the lower house of parliament, about Rs1.23 trillion had been spent. It has now virtually become a norm for actual defence spending incurred in a year to be higher than the original allocation.
Meanwhile, the government has earmarked Rs83.363 billion for Education Affairs and Services against the revised allocation of Rs81.253 billion for the current fiscal year, showing an increase of around 2.5 per cent. The country’s public expenditure on education as a percentage to gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 2.3 per cent in the fiscal year 2019-20, which, according to reports, is the lowest in the region.
An amount worth Rs70.741 billion has been allocated for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services in budget 2020-21, which is 84.9 per cent of the total allocation under this head, while Rs2.931 billion have been earmarked for pre-Primary & Primary Education Affairs, Rs7.344 billion for Secondary Education Affairs & Services and Rs1.237 billion for administration.
Since the federal government only finances higher education after the 18th Amendment when education as a subject was devolved to provinces, the government has increased the budgetary allocation for the higher education sector from Rs59 billion in 2019-20 to Rs64 billion for the next fiscal year. According to the budget documents, Rs29.470 billion have been earmarked for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the Public Sector Development Programm (PSDP) for 2020-21.
With the nearly 1447.62 per cent difference between the spending on defence and education not sitting well with many, here’s how Twitterati are reacting:
Some also highlighted how the government had allocated only Rs70 billion for combating the coronavirus and other disasters at a time when dozens were losing their lives to the virus across the country every day.
What do you think of Budget 2020? Let The Current know in the comments.
You can go through the budget document here.