In its last budget, AAP govt gives account of its 2015 poll promises
The budget with a total outlay of Rs 60,000 crore, which Delhi deputy CM Sisodia said is the highest ever for the city, is 13.21% more than the last year’s Rs 53,000 crore.Updated: Feb 27, 2019 08:51 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Presenting the last budget of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government until assembly elections next year, Delhi finance minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday went back to his party’s 70-point manifesto giving an account of the promises fulfilled.
The budget with a total outlay of Rs 60,000 crore, which Sisodia said is the highest ever for the city, is 13.21% more than the last year’s Rs 53,000 crore.
Despite the fact that Lok Sabha elections are due this year, the Delhi government’s budget for 2019-20 had a few new announcements. But unlike last year, it did not specify timelines for the completion of projects, which Sisodia said was not necessary as the AAP government’s tenure would end in a year.
The contribution of Delhi to the national GDP has increased from 3.97% in 2014-15 to 4.14% in 2018-19, “though we are only 1.4% per cent of the total population”, Sisodia said in his speech. AAP assumed power in Delhi in 2015.
At constant prices, Delhi’s economy is expected to grow at the rate of 8.61% in 2018-19 compared to the national growth rate of 7.2%, Sisodia said. The annual average growth of GSDP in last four years remained 8.92%, which exhibits strong economic fundamentals of Delhi’s economy, as per the budget documents. For the fifth year, the government kept a lion’s share, Rs 15,600 crore or 26% of the total.
This year, the government had divided the budget into two categories — projects and schemes and establishments and administration. Of the Rs 60,000 crore total outlay, Rs 27,000 crore have been earmarked for projects and schemes, whereas Rs 33,000 crore are kept for establishment and administration.
Under the projects and schemes category, three sectors — health, transport (including road infra) and urban development (including housing) — got the same share of 14% out of Rs 27,000 crore. This was followed by social security and welfare (13%).
For the second time in a row, the government kept aside ₹500 crore to complete its flagship project of installing 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras across the city. Sisodia said last year’s allocation went unused as the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) had raised “unnecessary objections” to the project. “Installation of cameras have already begun in several constituencies,” he said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed it as “everyone’s budget”. “In five years, we have doubled the budget. While the economy of the country had gone down due to GST and demonetisation, Delhi is growing and booming,” he said. Kejriwal said Delhi people pay nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore as income tax to the Centre, in return of which Delhi will get only Rs 534 crore. “We urge the Centre to at least give us 50% of taxes we pay,” he said.
Sisodia also said that most of the 70 points of its manifesto have been fulfilled by the AAP government. “Some projects haven’t been completed because we do not have full control over Delhi. The Centre kept interfering which slowed down all projects,” the finance minister said.
Kejriwal later said the government is going to refurbish its 52,000 flats are lying vacant. “Once they are ready, we will relocate slum and JJ cluster dwellers into these houses. An allocation of Rs 800 crore has been made for this purpose,” he said.
Providing free Wi-Fi, another prominent poll promise of AAP, will start from next year, Sisodia said. The minister said that the project has been delayed because the government could not decide on the model of the project for a long time. “Time was taken. We have decided to go for the hotspot model. The project has been given Rs 150 crore.” Kejriwal said.
First Published: Feb 27, 2019 01:03 IST