Government’s First Budget, Lion’s Share For Education
Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has presented a Rs. 41,129 crore budget with a massive allocation for education, and announced that all colleges and villages will be given free Wi-Fi.
“This is the country’s first Swaraj Budget prepared by the Aam Aadmi (common man),” Manish Sisodia, the Delhi Finance Minister.
A new “Swaraj fund” worth Rs. 253 crore also features in the Arvind Kejriwal government’s first budget since it came to power in February with a spectacular mandate. Mr Sisodia says in the Swaraj scheme, projects will be decided by the people and each constituency will have Rs. 20 crore to spend. Money will be allotted to 11 of the 70 constituencies to start with.
Of the total budget, the largest amount, Rs. 9836 crore, has been allocated for education – 106 per cent more than last time, Mr Sisodia said. The health sector has been allotted Rs. 4787 crore, with a plan to construct 100 new hospitals in the capital. Rs. 5,908 crore has been set aside for civic bodies.s. 50 crore has been allotted for a Wi-Fi infrastructure in the city, which was a major poll promise of AAP.
The government has also proposed a five per cent increase in luxury tax, which will make spa and gym visits and hotel stays more expensive. Movies are set to cost more as entertainment tax has been doubled to 40 per cent. Watching TV at home will also be costlier; a monthly entertainment tax of Rs. 40 has also been proposed for cable TV/DTH services.
Apart from Rs. 1,690 crore for power and water subsidies, the government has proposed 10,000 new buses, subsidy to e-rickshaw owners, CCTVs in all public transport and marshals in buses for women safety.
Mr Sisodia has also proposed an entry tax ranging between Rs. 100 and Rs. 1,500 on diesel vehicles entering Delhi, which has the dirtiest air among the world’s cities.