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Education, health main focus in Delhi budget

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-03-2017 Pretika Khanna

New Delhi: Education and health remained the key focus areas for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government in its Rs48,000 crore third budget, presented by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday.

Education accounted for 24% of the budget and health for 12%.

For the first time, the AAP government presented an outcome budget to increase accountability. In line with the central government, the Delhi government has done away with the plan and non-plan component.

The government has proposed total expenditure of Rs11,300 crore on education in 2017-18, which includes a revenue budget of Rs10,186 crore and capital budget of Rs1,114 crore.

“Education is the most priority sector for our government. We have succeeded in creating huge infrastructure in the form of construction of new schools, new classrooms, sports grounds, clean toilet facilities,” Sisodia said.

Ahead of municipal elections in Delhi, the state government has increased allocation to the civic corporations to Rs7,571 crore, or 15.8% of the total budget. This is 14.9% higher than the funds allocated in 2016-17. AAP is contesting elections to all municipal seats in Delhi for the first time.

No new taxes were imposed in the budget, which reduced tax on sanitary napkins, laminates, plywood and granite.

Expecting a positive impact on tax revenue collections of the state government after the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the government has projected tax collection in 2017-18 at Rs38,700 crore, 19.33% higher than the revised estimate of last year.

The outcome budget will be available online by 31 March.

Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the budget announcements.

“This budget is a great one for the poor and the middle class. For the third time in a row, there has been no new tax that is being increased. In fact for certain items, tax is being reduced and that is only possible because of an honest government. The money that was spent in corruption and was being eaten by officials is now being saved,” Kejriwal told reporters.

President of Swaraj India and member of Swaraj Abhiyan Yogendra Yadav said the budget contained half-truths.

“Delhi budget copies two good ideas from (finance minister Arun) Jaitley’s: merging plan, non-plan funds & outcome budget. It also copies his art of half-truths. Yawning budgetary gaps between: electoral promise and budget allocations, allocation and actual expenditure and Expenditure and real outcomes,” Yadav posted on Twitter.

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