The Budget for 2023-24 presented by the Delhi government in the UT assembly on Wednesday revealed a stagnation in its revenue sources, and consequent pressures on expenditure, including capex.
Capital expenditure is projected to marginally decline to `21,817 crore in 2023-24 compared with the budget estimate of `22,113 crore for 2022-23. The capex for the current fiscal was lower than the BE by `2,900 crore, as per the revised estimate.
Despite the Centre bearing the full burden of expenditure on a large police force for salary and pension, the Union Territory’s committed expenditure including salary, pension and interest payment is budgeted to remain over 45% of total expenditure in FY24 as well.
“In the budget of `78,800 crore, `35,100 crore is for the establishment and other committed expenditure and `43,700 crore is for schemes/programmes and projects,” Delhi finance minister Kailash Gahlot said presenting the budget.
The budget presentation was delayed by a day as the Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had flagged `557.24 crore allocation for the directorate of information & publicity in FY24, compared with `272.21 crore in FY23 (RE), even as capex and spending on infrastructure are constrained.
Gahlot also increased the allocations for committed expenditure to `33,800 crore for FY23 in the revised estimate from budget target of `32,200 crore.
Delhi’s fiscal deficit is estimated to widen by 138% to `10,386 crore in FY24. The widening fiscal deficit would largely be due to the base effect. The fiscal deficit has been revised down to `4,359 crore from the budget estimate of `9,194 crore for FY23. The UT’s revenue projection for the next fiscal is `62,752 crore, `100 crore less than FY23RE.
The UT’s total expenditure is projected to rise just 4% to `78,800 crore over the budget estimate of FY23 and 8.7% over the revised estimate for FY23.
For its core service delivery programmes in FY24, the Delhi government has proposed an outlay of `9,742 crore for health, `9,337 crore for transport, `6,342 crore for water and `3,348 crore for power.