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Cong smiles as city gets a bigger slice

The Budget 2008-09 has come as a shot in the arm for the Congress Govt, which is battling anti incumbency after enjoying two consecutive terms, reports Amitabh Shukla.
Hindustan Times | By Amitabh Shukla, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2008 03:05 AM IST

For Delhi, which goes to polls later this year, the Budget has come as a shot in the arm for the Congress government which is battling anti incumbency after enjoying two consecutive terms.

Delhi Finance Minister AK Walia, who will present his fifth consecutive Budget on March 24, said the state government would get Rs 1,288.4 crore from the plan funds. In 2007-08, the Delhi government got Rs 784.19 crore in the revised estimates. “There is an increase in all fronts in the Union Budget this year as far as Delhi is concerned,” Walia said.

The share of Delhi in central taxes is constant at Rs 325 crore for sometime now. This has not been increased.

In fact, government officials said Delhi did not even ask for a revision, as it is sufficient. “The revenue generation ability of Delhi is much greater than other states,” said a senior official.

For urban infrastructure, Delhi has got Rs 375.25 crore out of which Rs 200.6 crore is for housing of urban poor alone. This money would be used in the Rajiv Gandhi Housing Scheme of the Delhi government which aims to construct two lakh houses in the next three years.

For infrastructure of Commonwealth Games, Delhi would get an additional Rs 400 crore out of the total allocation of Rs 634 crore. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described the Budget as “good”. She told reporters that it has met the aspirations of the people.

Health Minister Yoganand Shastri called the Budget “pro-poor and pro-health”. “The 15 per cent increase in health sector allocation would come as a great help,” he said.

Shastri added reduction in price of drugs for AIDS treatment and other life saving drugs would come as a boon for patients. On tax holiday for setting up hospitals in rural areas, Shastri said private health care providers could now establish hospitals in rural areas in Delhi.

“This would help the reach of medical services in every nook and corner of the city,” the minister added.

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