A Rs 48,000-crore budget for the national capital was on Wednesday presented by the AAP government, laying major focus on improving transport, health, water distribution and education infrastructure.
In its third Budget, the Arvind Kejriwal government abolished the plan and non-plan expenditure heads and presented it in terms of revenue and capital classification in line with the Centre's decision.
There was no proposal on levying any new tax.
In a first, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the finance portfolio, also presented an "outcome budget" which he said would act like a "contract" between the government and the people.
Sisodia asserted that the economy of the state will grow "despite demonetisation".
At the same time, he said note ban has led to contraction in the city's estimated GSDP for the ongoing financial year (at constant prices) although it will still be higher than the projected growth at the national level.
At current prices, the national capital's economic growth has been pegged at 12.76 per cent.
"When we allocate money for skywalk, merely constructing it would not be counted as success. Its success would depend on how many people actually use it. That in a nutshell explains the objective of the outcome component," he said.
Eyeing the municipal polls, the government has earmarked a record Rs 7,571 crore for the civic bodies, which comes to about 15 per cent of the total allocation.
The government alloted Rs 11,300 crore for education, about 24 per cent of the total Budget, to the education sector. Last year's allocation was Rs 10,690 crore.
An outlay of Rs 5,736 crore has been made for the health sector, a priority area for AAP government.
Rs 1,156 crore has been set aside for the phase four of the Delhi Metro while Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for developing bus terminals and depots.
The first ever "Outcome" budget. A new experiment to make budgeting transparent n directly accountable to peopleâ€” Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 8, 2017
Contribution to India's GDP increased
Sisodia said Delhi's contribution to India's GDP has increased from 3.94 per cent in 2011-12 to 4.08 per cent in 2016-17.
The size of the budget for 2017-18 is Rs 48,000 crore.
Fuel will be brought down from 25 per cent to 1 per cent for flights to remote areas such as North Eastern states to compliment Centre's regional connectivity scheme.
Sisodia said the AAP government will continue to give subsidy to battery-operated vehicles as part of efforts to promote eco-friendly public transport system.
He said Rs 2,100 crore has been allocated for the water sector and cleaning of Yamuna while Rs 3,100 crore has been earmarked for Urban Development.
The budget of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has been increased by three times with a total allocation of Rs 120 crore.
The power sector has been given an allocation of Rs 2,194 crore, Sisodia said adding special emphasis will be on developing solar energy and waste-to-energy plants.
Rs 57 crore has been set aside for the environment department which spearheads the anti-pollution initiative in the city.
'To double hospital beds'
Doubling the hospital-bed strength to 20,000 and expanding Mohalla Clinics are the focus areas of the Delhi budget for health for which the AAP government has set aside Rs 5,736 cr- 9 per cent more than the last fiscal's.
The budget has also proposed setting up five de-addiction centres for juveniles in the city.
The outlay for the health sector, about 12 per cent of the total budget of Rs 48,000 crore for financial year 2017-18, is 9 per cent more
compared to the last fiscal's.
Presenting the budget in the Assembly, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia today said health is second only to education on the AAP
government's priority list.
"In the last two years, our government has worked to establish a three-tier healthcare system and our government will further strengthen this system in the next financial year," he said.
The city has a three-tier healthcare system -- mohalla clinics, polyclinics and hospitals.
"I propose a total expenditure of Rs 5,736 crore on health in 2017-18. This includes revenue budget of Rs 5,048 crore and capital budget of Rs 688 crore. An amount of Rs 2,627 crore is earmarked for implementation of various schemes, programmes and projects under the health sector," Sisodia said.
He said hospitals come under the third-tier of its healthcare system and work is under progress to increase the number of beds from 10,000 to 20,000.
It is expected to be completed in the next 18 months, he said.
"In addition, three hospitals at Burari, Ambedkar Nagar and Dwarka are under construction and another four are to be established at Sarita Vihar, Nangloi, Madipur and Sirsapur. There will be 5,000 new beds in these seven hospitals," he added.
The Delhi government had in the last budget also proposed 10,000 new beds at hospitals run by it and set a target of opening 1,000 Mohalla Clinics.
Sisodia said, "Our aim is to set up 1,000 Mohalla Clinics in the next financial year for which work is going on in full swing."
AAP's budget for educationâ€” Aam AadmiParty Sidhi (@AAP_SIDHI) March 8, 2017
1st Budget ~ ? 9836 cr
2nd budget~ ? 10690 cr
3rd budget ~ ? 11300 cr pic.twitter.com/PQ44M6Wkqn
DCW budget increased
In a good news for the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), the AAP government has increased its annual budget by three times amounting to Rs 20 core, drawing appreciation from women activists.
The budget allocated last year to the women's body was Rs seven core.
"Budget for the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has increased by three times to Rs 20 crore," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in his budget speech in Delhi Assembly.
DCW chief Swati Maliwal thanked the government for recognising the need to strengthen the resources of the women's body.
"First time in the Indian history has the women commission got Rs 20 core. Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia," Maliwal said.
While women activists appreciated the government's move, they flagged the issue of women safety which continues to be be their prime concern.
"It is appreciable that the government is investing in providing resources to bodies working for women but we also want it to focus on issues like women safety which continue to be unaddressed," said Kamla Bhasin, founder member of Jagori, an NGO for women.
Ranjana Kumari, gender rights activist and Director of Centre for Social Research, said, "DCW getting enhanced budget allocation is worth appreciation but the government also needs to enhance the over-all budget allocation to the Women and Child development department."
'Delhi to be destination for film shooting'
To promote the national capital as a destination for film shooting, the Delhi government today proposed introduction of a single window clearance mechanism for completion of all formalities under one roof.
The government is planning to bring in a system so that legal formalities to shoot in the city can be completed by visiting only one government office.
"A smooth system is being developed for granting permission to film producers and to provide them with consolidated information for shooting and to make film shooting a hassle-free experience," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said while presenting the annual budget.
It remains to be seen whether the government will initiate a move to include all stakeholders under the single window clearance mechanism.
For shooting in monuments in the national capital and Lutyens' Delhi, filmmakers have to apply for permission from the Archaeological Survey of India and the New Delhi Municipal Council respectively, that do not come under the Delhi government.
Filmmakers also need to procure a no-objection certificate from Delhi Police, which comes under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is a film buff and regularly praises films on his Twitter handle.
Tax reduced on sanitary napkins
In a Women's Day gift, the AAP government today announced reduction in tax on sanitary napkins from 12.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
Citing the government's concern for hygiene of women, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made the announcement in the budget for 2017-18.
While sanitary napkins costing Rs 20 have been made tax free, those priced above will attract a reduced tax of 5 per cent.
"Sanitary napkins up to Rs 20 will be tax free. In case of their cost being above Rs 20, the government proposes to reduce the tax rate from 12.5 per cent to just 5 per cent keeping in view the concern about hygiene of women," Sisodia said in Delhi Assembly.
The Delhi government runs "Kishori Yojana" for female students enrolled in government schools under which sanitary napkins are provided free of cost to over seven lakh girls studying in classes VI to XII.
The government had also roped in services of an NGO to impart lessons on menstruation to school girls and answer their queries and clear myths about the stigmas attached to the biological process.Â
In Video: Manish Sisodia presents Delhi Govt's third Budget on March 8
(With inputs from PTI)