₹76,000-crore budget will help achieve ‘Ram Rajya’ in Delhi, says Finance Minister

Education continues to receive lion’s share of the budget, which sees a drop of 3.7% compared to last year’s outlay; Centre not giving Delhi its rightful share from central pool of taxes, says Atishi

Updated - March 05, 2024 10:34 am IST

Published - March 05, 2024 01:25 am IST - NEW DELHI: 

Finance Minister Atishi presented a ₹76,000-crore budget for Delhi in the Assembly on Monday, saying it was aimed at realising the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) dream of achieving “Ram Rajya”.

In her nearly 100-minute speech, Ms. Atishi made 32 references to “Ram Rajya” and quoted extensively from the Hindu epicRamayanawhile presenting the AAP government’s 10th consecutive budget.

“I understand that we have a long way to go in this journey to establishRam Rajya. However, I can confidently say that in the past 10 years, there have been significant and positive changes in the lives of the common people of Delhi,” Ms. Atishi said in her maiden budget speech.

Also read: Delhi Finance Minister Atishi announces ₹340 crore for pink tickets, ₹510 crore for new e-buses

“It is said that in Ram Rajya, there was no poverty, and every family was prosperous. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal believes that the only way to eradicate poverty is to provide good education to every child. Therefore, we are continuing to provide the highest allocation to education,” she added.

Compared to the previous year, the overall budget for 2024-25 witnessed a 3.7% reduction. The allocation for health and education sectors also saw a drop in absolute terms.

Continuing its free electricity scheme for consumers who use up to 400 units of power, the Minister said under the Delhi Solar Policy-2023, which is currently in the process of gazette notification, any consumer who uses more than 400 units of electricity will receive zero bills if they install adequate solar panels.

Ms. Atishi said Delhi was getting “stepmotherly treatment” from the Central government. All State governments receive their share from the central pool of taxes and duties, however, Delhi has never received its due share, she said.

“While other States receive 41% of all taxes collected by the Central government, Delhi’s share from the central pool remained frozen at only ₹325 crore from the year 2001-02 to 2022-23. In 2023-24, this became zero,” she added. “If the Central government gives Delhi its fair share, then the city will get more than ₹7,200 crore every year,” Ms. Atishi said. Despite not being given its rightful share, she added, Delhi saw its budget grow remarkably from ₹30,940 crore in 2014-15 to ₹76,000 crore this year.

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