The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed Delhi’s budget by a voice vote. The icing on the cake, however, could turn out to be the power subsidy that aims to reduce power bills for every five out of six households.
From the total outlay of `36,776 allotted for the city, `260 crore has been earmarked for power subsidy. “84% households will get reduced power bills as compared to last month,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha in his reply to a discussion on the Delhi budget. In comparison, the central budget has allotted `700 crore for power and water reforms.
Jaitley also outlined plans to develop Delhi as a world class city, with better educational institutions and hospitals, adding that the existing infrastructure for power transmission would be strengthened.
Other proposals include introducing 1,380 low-floor and 400 cluster buses, cleaning the Yamuna, higher pension for over 4,30,000 aged persons, a multispecialty hospital in Rohini, housing for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and improving water and sewerage facilities.
Delhi, Jaitley said, had two faces: One that was prosperous and the second that lacked basic facilities. Initiatives were being taken to provide for an equitable development, he said.
Referring to the NDA government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities, the Finance Minister said some would be new ones, while some would be developed near the existing smaller cities like Gurgaon and Greater Noida.
Measures would also be taken to strengthen Delhi’s cosmopolitan culture by strengthening the existing Urdu, Punjabi anad Sanskrit Akademis, Jaitley said.
Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy urged the government to remove the anomalies in the structure of governance in Delhi while BJD member Prabhas Kumar Singh demanded land for the setting up of an Odisha cultural complex. Jitendra Chaudhury (CPI-M) also demanded a separate cultural complex for northeast Indians.
Bhagwant Mann (AAP) pointed out his party’s earlier initiatives to carry out an audit of power companies had not been taken forward. He also alleged that the “water tanker mafia” had become active once again.