CM eyes lost votes with budget
With no major tax announcement and a battery of programmes for social security and welfare of the economically weaker and vulnerable sections, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit rolled out a ‘please all’ budget on Monday. HT reports.delhi Updated: May 29, 2012 01:04 IST
With no major tax announcement and a battery of programmes for social security and welfare of the economically weaker and vulnerable sections, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit rolled out a ‘please all’ budget on Monday.
Presenting her second consecutive budget, Dikshit, who also holds finance portfolio, proposed to spend R9,796 crore on social service sector, which has the largest share in the Rs 33,436 crore budget for 2012-2013. While the government’s planned allocation this year is R15,000 crore this financial year, the non-planned allocation has gone up from Rs 15,811 crore in 2011-2012 to Rs 18,268 crore for 2012-2013.
Barring the proposal to levy value added tax (VAT) on compressed natural gas (CNG), which the chief minister hinted might even be rolled back, Delhi government refrained from increasing or levying new taxes. After a drubbing at the hands of the BJP in the recently-concluded municipal elections, which saw Congress’s traditional votebank shifting to other parties, and Assembly elections due next year, the government’s budget clearly aimed at winning over the disgruntled section of the society.
The government has proposed to spend 65% of its Rs 15,000 crore planned outlay in 2012-2013.
Dikshit’s efforts to appease the economically weaker and vulnerable sections include the launch of ‘Dilli Annashree Scheme’ to provide food subsidy to two lakh vulnerable households and one-time subsidy to families to obtain a gas connection to make Delhi a ‘kerosene-free’ city.
Rs 1,000 financial assistance to people suffering from HIV/IDS for anti-retroviral treatment, increase in income eligibility for needy to get benefit of Delhi Arogya Kosh from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, and Rs 300-400 cash subsidy to students from Classes 1 to 8 to buy stationery in government and government-aided schools are some other populist measures announced by Dikshit.
The government has also proposed to provide a loan of up to Rs 5 lakh to entrepreneurs from SC/ST/minorities and backward classes to set up a venture under Dilli Swarozgar Yojana.
“We look forward to Delhi emerging as a ‘caring city’: a city where citizens proudly aspire to and secure a future for themselves and their children. We will continue to look more intently at the educational, health and financial needs of the weaker sections,” Dikshit said in her budget speech.
To get residents welfare associations on her side, Dikshit announced an increase in funds from R5 crore to R45 crore under My Delhi I Care Fund programme. Dikshit said her government is likely to earn R26,150 crore in tax revenues this year.