*ISLAMABAD: *There will be no substantial increase in defence budget of Pakistan Armed Forces despite the rising Indian war hysteria.
The military will get only a regular increase and there will be no unusual increase in the defence budget for the next fiscal year, the adviser to the prime minister on finance said on Monday.
The announcement came in response to expectations that the defence budget could get an extraordinary increase in the wake of the approval of a new Armed Forces Development Plan.
“The defence budget will get a regular increase and there will not be any extraordinary increase in the defence budget”, Dr Miftah Ismail told media persons after addressing a conference on Pakistan’s investment potential.
For the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18, the defence budget stood at Rs920.2 billion. For the new fiscal year 2018-19, the stated defence budget could be increased to Rs1.013 trillion, up by roughly 10 per cent, said sources in the Finance Ministry.
They said that the military had demanded higher than Rs920 billion budget for the outgoing fiscal year. But the former Finance Minister had promised that additional budget would be given during the course of the fiscal year, said the sources.
Military pensions, armed forces development programme, receipts from the Coalition Support Fund and United Nations Missions are not part of the stated defence budget.
Dr Miftah Ismail said that the government would substantially increase pensions for retired employees on the instruction of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
In order to compensate losses to the tax base because of the three-fold increase in income tax exemption threshold, the government will give one million more potential taxpayers to the FBR, said the adviser.
He said that these people have been identified by National Database and Registration Authority through their consumption patterns.
From July this year, the government will increase the income tax exemption threshold from annual incomes of Rs400,000 to Rs1.2 million. This would erase 522,000 income tax return filers out of 1.26 million.
Former finance minister Ishaq Dar also made a similar claim regarding bringing 700,000 new individuals under the tax net with the help of NADRA. But nothing happened.