Delhi Assembly session next week: Govt may table state budget on March 9
- For 2020-21, Delhi had pegged budgeted revenue receipts (excluding borrowings) at ₹55,309 crore. Revised estimates for the year will be mentioned in the upcoming budget (2021-22) and actual revenue receipts for the year will reflect in the budget after that.
The Delhi assembly’s budget session will be held from March 8 till March 16, the Delhi government announced on Tuesday after the state Cabinet finalised the dates.
HT has learnt that the economic survey and outcome budget 2020-21 is likely be tabled on March 8, while the 2021-22 state budget — the seventh by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its three terms in power — will be tabled on March 9.
The Delhi Assembly last held a session on December 17 and 18, a special meet to debate the three contentious farm laws and an alleged ₹2,400 crore scam in the city’s civic bodies.
The Delhi government proposed a ₹65,000 crore budget outlay for 2020-21, the highest till date and around 8.33% higher than the previous financial year’s expenditure. The total outlay in the AAP government’s first budget, presented in 2015-16, was ₹41,500 crore.
This will be the first after the Covid-19 pandemic, with the infection and consequent lockdown severely denting the state government’s revenue.
For 2020-21, Delhi had pegged budgeted revenue receipts (excluding borrowings) at ₹55,309 crore. Revised estimates for the year will be mentioned in the upcoming budget (2021-22) and actual revenue receipts for the year will reflect in the budget after that. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said last month that the government’s revenues dropped by around 42% because of the pandemic.
The 2020-21 budget was tabled in the Assembly on March 23, even as Delhi planned a week-long lockdown, and the nation-wide lockdown had not been announced till then.
The Delhi Budget this year (2021-22) is likely to focus on health, basic infrastructure and transport, said senior officials who are drafting the document.
The senior officials said this year’s health budget will see allocations related to Covid-management and vaccination. In the last budget, the government made a special allocation of ₹50 crore to provide for adequate quarantine facilities to fight the infection.
The other major investment, according to officials, is likely to be the cloud-based health information management system (HIMS) – a project the government plans to roll out in August this year.
The HIMS project envisages digital health cards for patients, which will be essentially a QR code-based system that will keep a record of clinical details such as health checks, follow-ups, surgeries, medications and vaccinations for each patient. The system is also supposed to include a mobile phone application as well as a 24x7 call centre to help patients with health-related information, fix consultations and other assistance.
The upcoming budget is also likely to see allocations to upgrade hospitals and increase bed capacities in state government facilities, said officials.
“The Delhi government should invest in creating a strong and vibrant public health system, beyond hospitals. A strong public health system will help the Capital not only handle epidemics like Covid-19 but to address all sorts of health crises,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases department in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
In its past budgets, the AAP government has consistently allocated the maximum share of its resources for education, followed by health. This year, health care and medical infrastructure are likely to see increased allotments.