Kailash Gahlot announces budget for ‘clean, modern Delhi’

Delhi Finance Minister announces plans to revamp roads, create new flyovers and underpasses, as city prepares to host G-20 summit later this year; something for everyone in this budget, says Chief Minister

March 22, 2023 11:28 pm | Updated 11:30 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly, in New Delhi on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: ANI

 

Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot on Wednesday presented the annual budget to create a ‘clean, beautiful and modern Delhi’ and a nine-point action plan to achieve it as the city gears up to host the G-20 summit later this year.

This was the first time since 2015 that someone other than former Deputy CM and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia presented the annual budget. Mr. Gahlot was given the Finance portfolio after Mr. Sisodia resigned from the Cabinet following his arrest in the alleged excise policy scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

In his maiden, 2.27-hour-long speech, the Finance Minister referred to Mr. Sisodia, lodged in Tihar jail, as his “elder brother”. Drawing a parallel from the Hindu epic Ramayana, Mr. Gahlot said he has been working like Bharat in the absence of Lord Ram when he was sentenced to “vanvaas [exile]”.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the budget has something for everyone and the ₹21,000 crore allocated for capital works will give a huge thrust to the city’s infrastructure. He also said that the AAP government will continue providing free education, water, power and healthcare services to its citizens.

Capital expenditure

Of the ₹78,800 crore budget outlay, ₹56,983 has been allotted for revenue expenditure (salaries, welfare schemes, etc.) and ₹21,817 crore for capital expenditure (to build roads, flyovers, schools etc.).

While Mr. Gahlot said the share of capital expenditure in the budget has “risen” to 27.68%, the allocation under this category seems to have reduced year-on-year. Capital expenditure was 29.17% (₹22,113 crore) of the 2022-23 budget.

Education and health

As in previous budgets, the education and health sectors, which form the core of what the AAP refers to as the “Delhi/Kejriwal model of governance”, got the lion’s share in the 2023-24 budget.

Mr. Gahlot said the Delhi government will start 17 Dr. Ambedkar Schools of Specialized Excellence (SoSE) in the Capital over the coming year. The government launched the scheme in 2021 by creating SoSE schools. He also said that the government is working to open 100 Mohalla Clinics across the city and set up these clinics at various Metro stations.

The Minister also said the Delhi Jal Board is working “in mission mode” to ensure a 24x7 supply of clean water as well as on the Clean Yamuna project.

Mr. Gahlot said the government is working on various schemes to increase the supply of water from the present 995 million gallons per day (MGD) to 1,240 MGD by March 2025.

Regarding the city’s power supply, Mr. Gahlot said the government’s target is to meet 25% of the city’s electricity demand through solar power by 2025. To achieve this, the government will install solar power infrastructure to create 6,000 megawatts (MW) over the next two years, he said, announcing ₹3,348 crore for the power sector.

Mr. Gahlot also said by the end of the next fiscal, the 1,400 km road network of the Public Works Department (PWD) will be pothole-free.

He also announced that the tax collected through the Goods and Services Tax and Value Added Tax in the current fiscal (up to February this year) was ₹30,283.62 crore, up by 24.22% compared to the previous fiscal (up to February 2022).

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