The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government today presented a Rs 41,129 crore budget with a major focus on education, health and transport sectors besides allocating funds to provide free wifi facility in colleges and villages.
Presenting the budget, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said his government will put major focus on reforming tax collection system and asserted that it will develop Delhi as a world-class skill centre and medical hub.
Calling it the country’s first “Swaraj” Budget, he said government has decided brought down the Value Added Tax rates for certain items.
Reaching out to the youth, he announced free wi-fi facility in all colleges as the AAP government’s first budget saw a 106 per cent rise in allocation to education sector.
He said the Budget document was a milestone towards achieving the ideal of “Swaraj” and a development model that was driven from the bottom instead of a top-driven one as it was prepared by the public at the ‘Mohalla Sabhas’.
In the budget, Rs 19,000 crore has been set aside for plan outlay while the non-plan outlay stands at Rs 22,129 crore.
“The government is working towards making Delhi the first corruption free city in the country,” Sisodia, who holds the finance portfolio, said.
The government allocated Rs 9,836 crore for the education sector out of which Rs 4570 crore was given under the plan outlay, an increase of around 106 per cent over the last budget.
“This (increase) is probably a first in the country which indicates our commitment to the cause of education. For us it is not expenditure but investment,” Sisodia said.
He said the government was in the process of installing CCTV cameras in all classrooms of government schools across Delhi to bring in “transparency and accountability”.
“We are also trying to inculcate value in the education. and education with skill and value. Fifty schools would be developed as model schools in this regard,” he said.
Stressing on skill development, he said Rs 310 crore has been alloted for skill development and proposed the establishment of a skill university.
The Deputy Chief Minister attacked the Centre saying it deprives the national capital of its due from the share of central taxes.
“We give Rs 1,30,000 crore to the Centre as taxes but get merely Rs 325 crore as our share. Step brotherly treatment is being meted out to Delhi. It’s about the right of Delhi’s residents,” he said.
Sisodia also announced the establishment of a ‘Swaraj fund’ and allocated Rs 253 crore towards it.
“The public would decide the expenditure from this fund. This is a unique experiment as public would decide in mohalla sabhas where to spend the money in,” he said.
He announced the establishment of ‘Delhi Urban Development Agency’ for maintenance and development works in all the districts, a body that would work under the leadership of the district magistrates.
Rs 50 crore was alloted towards putting up the wifi infrastructure in the city, a major poll promise of AAP.
Rs 4787 crore was alloted to the health sector, whose planned outlay has been pegged at Rs 3138 crore, 45 per cent more than last time. “10,000 new beds would come up in hospitals,” he said.