Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot on Wednesday presented a Rs 78,800-crore budget in the Delhi Assembly for the financial year 2023-24. The Budget mainly focuses on transport and infrastructure as part of the G-20 summit preparations. This was the first time that Gahlot presented the Budget after taking charge of the finance department following the resignation of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam case.
The Delhi government’s Budget size for 2022-23 was Rs 75,800 crore and Rs 69,000 crore in the preceding year.
“I would have been happier if this budget was presented by Manish Sisodia who is like my elder brother. The budget is an expression of expectations and aspirations of the people,” Gahlot said in his budget speech.
The minister said the budget is dedicated to a clean, beautiful and modern Delhi with Rs 19,466 crore to be spent on upgradation of 1,400 kilometres of roads in the next 10 years. The government has allocated Rs 2,034 crore for 2023-24 for various infrastructure projects.
This is the ninth consecutive budget of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and education continued to get the highest allocation of Rs 16,575 crore for the 2023-24 financial year.
“Every possible help will be given to the MCD to remove the three mountains of garbage in Delhi. We will connect all colonies to the sewer network, increase capacities of sewage treatment plants to clean Yamuna river,” he said.
He announced that local bodies will be given financial assistance of Rs 8,241 crore in the financial year 2023-24.
Addressing the assembly, the minister said that the budget has nine schemes as part of G-20 summit preparations.
The government will undertake upgradation and beautification of road network, construction of 26 flyovers, three double-decker flyovers in collaboration with DMRC, include 1,600 e-buses, carry out electrification of bus depots, develop world class ISBTs and work to remove three landfill sites and clean Yamuna.
Out of 26 flyover projects, 10 are in construction stage while plans for 11 have been sent to UTTIPEC for clearance.
UTTIPEC, or Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre, is a nodal agency for clearing any transportation projects in Delhi.
Gahlot also rued the fact that despite its huge contribution, Centre has been allocating just Rs 325 crore to Delhi as its share in central taxes.
Elaborating further, he said that a six-point action plan for a clean Yamuna and removal of all three mountains of garbage is one of the focus areas of Delhi government’s budget.
“Okhla landfill will be removed by December 2023, Bhalswa by March 2024 and Ghazipur by December 2024. Delhi government targets removal of all three garbage mountains in just two years. MCD will get Rs 850 crore for flattening landfills,” he announced.
Sharing the government’s roadmap for augmenting transport facilities in the national capital, he said that the government will be rolling out the Mohalla Bus Scheme to address the issue of last-mile connectivity.
“There are 7,379 buses currently plying in Delhi. The city will have 1,900 e-buses by 2023-end. It will reduce Co2 emissions by 1.07 lakh tonnes,” he said.
While announcing the Mohalla Bus scheme, he said 100 feeder e-buses will be launched in 2023-24 while 2,180 in next two years.
“The government earmarks Rs 3,500 crore for upgradation of public transport in 2023-24,” he said.
Another key area of focus will be enhancing sewage treatment capacity.
Delhi will treat 890 million gallons of sewage a day by March 2024, a massive increase over 373 MGD in 2015.
Under the education sector, which again received the highest allocation, 350 Delhi government schools will be getting 20 computers each while all teachers, principals, vice-principals will be getting new tablets. In the 2022-23 Delhi budget, the education sector received the highest allocation of Rs 16,278 crore.
“In 2018, the Kejriwal government provided tablets to all teachers. In 2023-24, the government will again provide new tablets to all teachers, principals, vice- principals and DDE,” Gahlot said.
Health, which is another focus area of the AAP dispensation, received an allocation of Rs 9,742 crore, a marginal decrease from Rs 9,769 crore last year.
“Four Mahila Mohalla Clinics launched in 2022 were extremely successful. Delhi government plans to open 100 more such units in 2023-24. Nine new hospitals are being built, with four to be operational this year. The hospital bed count will increase from 14,000 to 30,000,” he said.
(With Inputs From PTI)
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