Delhi government on Wednesday presented Rs 48,000 crore budget for 2017-18. This year’s budget assumes significance in view of the next month’s civic body elections in Delhi.
Among important announcement, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said that there were more than 12 lakh zero water bills last year and his government planned to encourage rainwater harvesting.
He also announced that 24% of the total budget will allocated for education in the coming fiscal year.
In a Women’s Day gift, the AAP government also 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.
Sisodia said that Rs 182 crore will be made available for extra computers in Delhi government schools and teachers will be provided with Tablets to track students’ progress.
The government will also introduce one window clearance for film shooting in the national capital. The riverfront of Yamuna will be developed as the government has earmarked Rs 119 crore towards tourism and culture in Delhi.
There has also been 27% increase in the budgetary allocation for funds under social welfare, while the budget for Delhi Commission for Women has gone up by three times to Rs 20 crore.
The five-day Budget session of the Delhi Assembly began on 6 February with the address of Lt Governor Anil Baijal, his first since assuming office in December last year.
The Deputy Chief Minister said VAT on Aviation Turbine 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.
“Five new schools have been opened, while five others have been upgraded. Construction of 20 new schools and 8,000 classrooms are underway,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)