Delhi Assembly passes budget for 2015-16

Source: Economic Times

The Delhi Assembly today passed the Rs 41,129 crore budget for 2015-16 — the first by the AAP government — with a major focus on education, health and transport sectors.

The budget was presented on June 25 by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and it was passed by voice vote by the House after lengthy discussion.

The budget was seen to be aimed at AAP’s core constituencies of middle class and poor as the government did not announce any hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) but raised the luxury and entertainment tax which will pinch those going to to gym, club, spa and restaurants.

Watching movies in multiplexes has also become dearer due to hike in entertainment tax. A monthly entertainment tax of Rs 40 was levied on cable TV/DTH services.

Sectors like education, healthcare, transport, water, power saw major jump in allocation while Rs 50 crore has been set aside for providing free wifi facility in colleges and villages, which was a major election promise of AAP.

Steps like installation of CCTV cameras in DTC buses and every classroom in government-run schools were also announced in the budget.

In the budget, Rs 19,000 crore was set aside for plan expenditure while the non-plan expenditure was estimated at Rs 22,129 crore.

The government allocated Rs 9,836 crore for the education sector of which Rs 4570 crore was given under the plan outlay, an increase of around 106 per cent over the last budget.

In an effort to curb vehicular emission, Sisodia had proposed to penalise heavy goods diesel vehicles, entering Delhi from other states.

Sisodia had also announced the establishment of a ‘Swaraj fund’ and allocated Rs 253 crore towards it.

Participating on budget discussion today, Kejriwal hailed the budget as something “never seen before”.

“Entire nation is excited after our budget as they have have never seen such a budget. Vijender Gupta and Om Prakash Sharma had praised us saying it was a great budget that night. If the Opposition praises then the budget must be indeed good,” he said.

He said though people were apprehensive about AAP government’s capabilities, they do not have such worry after presentation of the budget.

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