The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is expected to double the allocation for education in its maiden budget. Sources in the government said this would be the highest allocation for the sector in the last 22 years.
The Aam Aadmi Party did not last its term in 2013-14 and then it only presented a vote-on-account soon after coming to power. Finance minister Manish Sisodia will present the party’s government’s first full budget on Thursday.
According to senior Delhi government officials, the money will be spent on implementing the key promises made by AAP in the run-up to the polls. This will be in line with the party’s poll manifesto in which it dwells in detail about ramping up education infrastructure in the city state.
They include setting up 500 new schools with special focus on seconday and senior secondary institutions, 20 new colleges and up to a Rs 10 lakh loan for students. Officials said these will need money for implementation in the four years to come and hence the government plans to make adequate allocation.
“Education is one area that needs major improvement and we need to pump in a lot of funds to fulfil all the promises that we had made to the people of Delhi. We want to bring in the reforms and technological interventions that are available to us. We want to provide quality education to Delhiites so that people do not shy away from getting their children admitted to government schools,” said a government spokesperson.
Apart from education, funds for health will also see nearly 40-50% increase, followed by the transport sector.
The AAP had quit after a 49-day stint in 2014 and did not table its budget. While Delhi was under President’s rule, union finance minister Arun Jaitley had presented the budget proposals for Delhi in Parliament in 2014.
“Health is another major concern for our government. We have achieved short-term goals such as ensuring availability of medicines in the hospitals, cleanliness in hospital premises, and punctuality of doctors but we need to increase the number of beds and construct new hospitals for which availability of land is a major issue. We hope that the funds allocated will help us improve health scenario further,” said the spokesperson.
Funds for continuing the power subsidy will also be included in the budget proposals.
In 2013, ahead of the Delhi elections, the then Sheila Dikshit government had focused primarily on infrastructure and earmarked most of the funds for the transport sector — which saw the maximum allocations in almost all Congress budgets, not including public infrastructure like flyovers and metro.
In the last Congress government budget, among the sectors, transport got the highest allocation of Rs 3,876 crore followed by health at Rs 2,490 crore, education at Rs 1,981 crore, urban development Rs 1,840 crore and water at Rs 1,665 crore.