AAP govt. presents ₹65,000-cr. budget amid virus outbreak

2020-21 budget contains allocation to handle COVID-19 pandemic and recent riots; Opposition calls it ‘directionless and a juggling of statistics’

Finance Minister Manish Sisodia presented a ₹65,000-crore budget at the Delhi Assembly here on Monday with continuing focus on education, transport and health sectors. The Opposition BJP, however, termed it “directionless, disappointing and a juggling of statistics”.

Mr. Sisodia said the 2020-21 budget contained an allocation of ₹50 crore to confront the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in the city in addition to the necessary financial arrangements needed for the setting up of a ‘Campaign for Communal Harmony’ in the wake of the recent communal riots which ripped across north-east Delhi last month.

“This is the first budget of the government formed in Delhi for the third time under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and I feel privileged that I have the opportunity to present the budget proposal in this House for the sixth consecutive time as the Finance Minister…The citizens of Delhi, under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have expressed their unwavering faith in the ‘Kejriwal model of governance’ over the last five years,” Mr. Sisodia said.

The proposed budget of ₹65,000 crore, he said, would be financed from tax revenue of ₹44,100 crore, non-tax revenue of ₹800 crore, capital receipts of ₹1,100 crore and compensation of ₹7,800 crore under GST among other sources and was 18.50% higher than the revised estimates of ₹54,800 crore in 2019-20.

Focus on education

“The basic foundation of the Kejriwal model of governance is guaranteeing the best possible education to every child in Delhi…There has been work on education in the past, but the drawback was that only 5% of children were provided with excellent education and 95% of children were left with ordinary education. We have transformed this,” he said.

Mr. Sisodia proposed to spend ₹15,815 crore for the education sector, which is 24.33% of the total budget including, ₹443 crore for education-related schemes and an amount of ₹7031 crore for the implementation of various programmes, schemes and projects related to the sector.

Health sector

For the health sector, Mr. Sisodia said he proposed a budget provision of ₹7,704 crore which included an amount of ₹3,952 crore for the implementation of various schemes, programmes and projects under the sector which was 55% higher than the revised estimate of ₹2,551 crore for 2019-20. This also included an immediate provision of ₹3 crore in the current fiscal’s revised estimates and ₹50 crore for the coming financial year to confront the COVID-19 epidemic.

“These are initial allocations and more will be made to tackle the epidemic as and when required. I assure you the government will leave no stone unturned in this regard,” he said.

Transport sector

A budgetary allocation of ₹5,941 crore was made for the public transport sector of which ₹2,678 crore has been allocated for various programmes and schemes including, an outlay of ₹₹250 crore for the purchase of buses by the DTC and ₹1,100 crore for the viability gap funding of cluster buses.

While an outlay of ₹1,700 crore was made for development work in unauthorised colonies, ₹400 crore was pledged for the development of rural areas, ₹193 crore was proposed for the improvement of road infrastructure and ₹40 crore was dedicated to promote startups.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari alleged the budget was “directionless, disappointing and a juggling of statistics”. The people of Delhi, he said, had “high expectations” from the budget, but once again, the Kejriwal government had shown “step-motherly behaviour” towards them.

“Like last year, this time too, the Delhi government has shown only dreams to the people of Delhi and no new plan has been introduced through this budget… the development of Delhi was never a priority for the Delhi government. New schools, colleges, hospitals, buses have been talked about for the last five years but till date nothing has been done at the ground level,” he alleged.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:28:06 PM |

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