In what was deemed a historic win, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged about 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections and formed the government under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal in February 2015. The AAP government’s election manifesto formed the basis of the budget presented by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to the Delhi Assembly on Monday, 28 March, 2016. This was the second budget presented by the AAP government. For 2016-17, the Delhi government has a planned an outlay of INR 20,600 and a non-planned outlay of INR 26,000 crore.
Here are some of the key statements made by Mr. Sisodia in his budget speech today.
People from Delhi pay about INR 1,30,000 crore in the form of taxes to the central government. The Delhi government’s share from the centre’s taxes should have been INR 1,000 crore but this remained at INR 325 crore for this financial year. Delhi’s per capita income is thrice that of the national average.
The budgetary allocation (revised) for the municipal corporation of Delhi for FY 2015-16 was INR 5,999 crore. For FY 2016-17, the allocation has been increased to INR 6919 crore. The Delhi government has cut down on needless red tape by abolishing the need for 200 affidavits. The e-district portal is now the common man’s one stop destination for obtaining various permits and certificates.
- Education is a key focus area of the Delhi government. Government has built 21 new schools and 8000 new classrooms (equivalent to 200 schools) this year. Plans are to run them in shifts to double up existing educational facilities (infrastructure of about 442 schools).
- Since the focus of teachers should be in teaching, no teacher will be sent on census duty henceforth.
- INR 102 crore has been set aside for recruitment of new teachers and for training existing teachers in Delhi.
- All government school classrooms will be enabled with CCTV cameras. Government has allocated INR 100 for the purpose.
- Providing adequate sports facilities is an important part of school education. INR 48 crore has been allocated for the improvement of sports facilities in government schools.
- Infrastructure, hygiene, and cleanliness shall be the focus of government schools. Each school shall have an Estate Manager who will be responsible for these.
- Government plans to establish 100 smart career colleges for skills development and training. The government plans a budgetary allocation of about INR 152 crores for vocational training.
- A total of INR 10,690 crore has been allocated for education sector; this constitutes about 23 percent of the total budget.
- Healthcare is another focus area of the Delhi government.About 1000 new Mohalla clinics, 100 polyclinics, and 10,000 beds (in government hospitals) will be added this financial year.
- INR 5259 crore has been allocated for health care (including INR 3200 crore planned budget); this constitutes about 16 per cent of the total budgetary outlay.
Public Transport System
- Tackling pollution menace and providing safe and efficient public transport facilities is another important focus area. Subsidy on e-rickshaws in Delhi has been increased from INR 15000 crore to INR 30000 crore
- 1000 new non-AC buses will be introduced this FY. A new bus terminus will be constructed in Dwarka. INR 325 crore has been allocated for improvement of bus services in Delhi.
- Two new elevated BRT corridors (from Anand Vihar to Peeragarhi and from Wazirabad to Airport) are to be constructed this year to make commutation within the city faster. 11 existing roads will be redesigned with safety mechanisms for cyclists. INR 2208 crore has been allocated for this purpose.
- Delhi metro has become a vital mode of public transportation. Government has allocated INR 763 crore for its maintenance.
Vacuum cleaners will be used to clean road and curb pollution. INR 100 crore has been allocated to make Delhi roads cleaner and greener. This year number of air quality monitoring centres will be increased to 9 from 6.
- Safety and security on Delhi roads are very important. INR 114 crores has been allocated to light up about 42,000 dark areas in Delhi.
- INR 200 crore shall be allocated to Mohalla Rakshak Dal in all constituencies for safety of the women. A further INR 200 crore will be allocated for setting up CCTVs across the city. A working women’s hostel will be set up in Dwarka.
- Late payment fines on disputed water bills have been waived and people have been given incentives to instal new meters. INR 178 crore has been collected due to such installations.
- Delhi Jal Board will be starting to work on comprehensive rainwater harvesting plan. INR 2466 crore has been set aside for development of the city’s infrastructure.
- Roads and drains will be constructed by the DSIIDC in unauthorised colonies. INR 300 crore has been set aside for this purpose. This will include rehabilitation of slums in Delhi.
- INR 350 crores has been allocated for Swaraj implementation to Mohalla sabhas.
- Incorporating the best practices of other states, the government will be launching Aam Aadmi Canteens to provide inexpensive but hygienic food across Delhi. Total budgetary outlay for these canteens INR 10 crore.
- Wi-Fi projects in buses, Burari, and some NDMC areas have been launched. More efficient systems will be introduced based on the learnings from these
- To emphasise on art and culture a total allocation of INR 54 crore has been made for the promotion of arts and culture including INR 8 crore for art and theatre projects at the school level.
- The tourism sector will receive INR 10 crore to boost tourism in Delhi.
- The tourism board will hold a Delhi festival that will showcase the city’s rich culture, food, and films. INR 30 crore has been allocated to build Brand Delhi.
- A skywalk will be constructed between the iconic Qutub Minar and the Qutub metro station.
Reduction of VAT
- To keep VAT at par with neighbouring states, the Deputy CM announced a reduction of VAT on footwear, school bags, battery operated vehicles, sweets and snacks, ready-made garments, and marble from 12.5 percent to 5 percent. Watches will be taxed at 12.5 percent, though.
- The budget also proposed to increase the Luxury Tax threshold limit for Delhi hotels (from those charging INR 750 to INR 1500 a day).Such establishments can avail of self-declaration of Luxury Tax.