Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister on Wednesday presented the Rs 48,000-crore Budget for the national capital, with major thrust on improving health, water distribution, transport, health and education infrastructure. Delhi’s newly-appointed Governor Anil Baijal opened the five-day Budget session outlining the AAP government’s work in the last two years. This was also the first time when Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, additionally presented an ‘outcome budget’ which he elaborated as something like a ‘contract’ between the people and the government. Taking aim at the Centre’s demonetisation move last year, Sisodia noted the initiative led to contraction in the city’s estimated GSDP for the ongoing financial year (at constant prices). But he asserted that despite demonetisation the state’s economy will grow.
In sync with the Centre’s decision, the AAP government also did away with the plan and non-plan expenditure heads and presented it in terms of revenue and capital classification. It also refrained from giving any proposal on levying new tax.
The government pegged the national capital’s economic growth at 12.76 per cent at current prices. Sisodia said: “When we allocate money for sky walk, merely constructing it would not be counted as success. Its success would depend on how many people actually use it. That in a nutshell explains the objective of the outcome component.”
Meanwhile, with an eye on municipal polls, the government has earmarked a record Rs 7,571 crore for the civic bodies. This translates to about 15 per cent of the total allocation. Out of the Rs 48,000 crore, the government has allotted Rs 11,300 crore for the education sector, which is around 24 per cent of the total Budget allocation. Previous year’s allocation was approximately Rs 10,690 crore.
For the health sector, which is a priority area of the AAP government, Rs 5,736 crore has been allotted. Delhi Metro’s phase four gets at allotment of Rs 1,156 crore, while Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for developing bus terminals and depots. The deputy finance minister said Delhi’s contribution to India’s GDP has increased from 3.94 per cent in 2011-12 to 4.08 per cent in 2016-17.
Sisodia said that VAT on Aviation Turbine Fuel will be brought down from 25 per cent to 1 per cent for flights to remote areas such as North Eastern states to compliment Centre’s regional connectivity scheme. To promote eco-friendly public transport system, Sisodia reiterated the AAP government’s continued commitment to give subsidy to battery-operated vehicles. Cleaning of Yamuna river and the water sector get an allocation of Rs 2,100 crore, while Rs 3,100 crore has been earmarked for Urban Development, added Sisodia.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) allocation has seen a three-fold increase with an allocation of Rs 120 crore. Adding that special focus will be given to developing solar energy and waste-to-energy plants, Sisodia gave an allocation of Rs 2,194 crore to the power sector. Rs 57 crore has been set aside for the environment department which spearheads the anti-pollution initiative in the city.