Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia presenting the Delhi Budget 2018-19.

Focus on Health, Education, Safety in AAP’s ‘Green’ Delhi Budget

Laying emphasis on environment, health and education sectors, the AAP government, on 22 March, presented a Rs 53,000 crore budget for 2018-19 fiscal year.

While making a slew of announcements, including a thrust on "green" initiatives and launching a ‘health insurance for all’ scheme, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the budget was aimed at benefiting the poor and middle-class residents of Delhi.

The budget for Delhi in 2014-15 and 2011-12 stood at Rs 30,940 crore and Rs 26,402 crore, respectively, he said.

The budget estimates for 2018-19 are pegged at Rs 53,000 crore, which is 19.45 percent more than the revised budget estimates of Rs 44,370 crore for the previous financial year.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

The Kejriwal-led government also announced plans to install 1.2 lakh CCTV cameras in the city, install CCTV in schools, provide self-defence training for female students, and to allocate Rs 100 crore for free Wi-Fi – a major pre-poll promise by the Aam Aadmi Party.

It also promised the implementation of doorstep delivery of government services by 15 June, and allocated Rs 1,500 crore for infrastructure development in unauthorised colonies.

"We are going to thread 26 programmes and schemes of transport, power, environment and PWD for devising a unified system of pollution control, bringing down levels of different pollutants," Sisodia was quoted as saying. He also said that the government has proposed to set aside Rs 1,000 crore for the repair and maintenance of smaller roads owned by the municipal corporations.

Lauding what he hailed as the first ‘Green budget’ of the government, for the effective containment of pollution in the city, Kejriwal said: “In the budget, government had taken care of all sections of society. There is a lot for poor people, women, middle class and students. It is a first of its kind Green Budget in the country”.

Besides education and health, we have focused on roads, sewer and water. We have also stressed on investment in these three areas.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

The Fight Against Pollution

The budget also stressed on reducing pollution levels in the national capital by proposing various measures, including concession in registration of CNG cars.

Presenting the budget estimates, Sisodia announced a 50 percent concession in registration of CNG cars and said that solar panels will be installed over 16 km cycle track.

As many as 1,000 indoor display boards will be installed in government buildings to provide information on air pollution levels, Sisodia said, adding that restaurants would be given subsidies to encourage them to move from using coal to electricity or gas-based tandoors.

Health Sector a Priority

An allocation of Rs 6,729 crore (or 12 percent of the total budget) has been made for the health sector, and the launch of a 'health insurance for all' scheme was announced in the budget.

An amount of Rs 100 crore has been allocated for the 'health insurance for all' scheme. First response vehicle will also be launched from East Delhi with 16 bike ambulances Sisodia said, adding that Rs 403 crore will be allocated for setting up 'mohalla' and poly clinics in the national capital.

While tabling the first Outcome Budget 2017-18 on 22 March, he said that the Delhi government has managed to set up 160 Mohalla clinics till 31 December this fiscal, against a target of 1,000 such facilities.

Promises for the Education Sector

For the education sector, the government has allocated Rs 13,997 crore, which is 26 per cent of the total budget. In the budget for the financial year 2017-2018, 23.5 percent of the total budget amount was allocated for the education sector.

"The government has allocated Rs 10 crore for self-defence training of girl students in Delhi and Rs 20 crore has been allocated for promotion of sports in schools," Sisodia said. He also announced allocation of Rs 315 crore for setting up a world-class skill centre in the national capital to train the youth in getting jobs.

(With PTI, IANS inputs)

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