Education, health priority for AAP

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at the Vidhan Sabha on March 22 — the first day of the Budget Session.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma  

eputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the Finance portfolio, will table the Delhi Budget before the Assembly on Monday. Like last year, education, health and transport are likely to be given a major share in the budget.

Mr. Sisodia is likely to allocate 25 per cent of the total budget to the Education sector with focus on training programmes and physical infrastructure.

As part of the 2015-16 budget, the Delhi government had allocated Rs. 9,836 crore for the Education sector. Of this, Rs. 4,570 crore was given under the plan outlay.

The AAP government is also expected to shell out more for public transport by deciding to buy 1,000 new air-conditioned buses.

The government will also provide funds for 3,000 mohalla sabhas where locals will be given a say in deciding civic projects for their areas. Last year, Mohalla Sudhar Samitis were constituted as a pilot project in 11 constituencies with a budget of Rs. 220 crore being allocated for the Swaraj Fund.

According to sources, this time the project will be taken up in all 70 constituencies with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 1,400 crore for the Swaraj Fund.

Further, the advertisement and publicity budget is likely to be slashed this time. Last year, the AAP government had set aside Rs. 526 crore as publicity budget. “The government has spent around Rs. 90 crore on advertisement and publicity. This time, the budget will be around Rs. 200 crore,” said an official.

The government is also expected to set aside Rs. 50 crore for the Aam Aadmi canteens, which have been modelled after Tamil Nadu’s highly-subsidised Amma canteens, to provide nutritious food to migrant workers in the Capital.

This time the AAP government will not introduce any new Bill during the Budget Session as it is awaiting the Centre’s nod for 14 Bills passed by the Delhi Assembly in the last one year.

“If the Centre does not give its nod to the city government’s Bills at the earliest, there is no benefit of tabling new ones and sending them for approval,” Mr Sisodia had recently said at a press conference.