Delhi Budget: A focus on long-term goals
The AAP is realising the importance of going beyond the politics of offering populist benefits and investing in long-term economic policies
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi presented its eighth budget on March 26. The Budget offers an insight into what could be the beginning of an evolution in the AAP’s politics. Rather than focus on offering more populist measures or freebies, something the AAP has been known for — the economic survey has highlighted that its populist schemes have led to tangible savings for the common people, with this money aiding both private consumption and savings — the latest budget gives a lot of attention on creating more jobs in order to improve per capita income levels in the city state.
Only time will tell how much of the rozgaar (income) Budget’s objectives are achieved, but the intent shows that the AAP is slowly realising the importance of going beyond the politics of offering populist benefits and investing in long-term economic policies that target a high growth in jobs and incomes. Such long-term planning is also a reflection of the confidence of a party which has just captured power in another state. While there are many promises in the Budget, it is intriguing that the Delhi government ended up spending ₹2,000 crore less than what it had budgeted for 2021-22.
A welcome change in this year’s Budget has been an improvement on the share of capital spending in overall expenditure. It has increased from 25% to 29% between 2021-22 and 2022-23. Given that the share of capital spending had gone down under the same government previously, this is a welcome change. This is all the more important because Delhi has always been a resource-rich state and the quantum of capital spending is more a function of political priorities rather than of resources.