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Environment may again get top priority in AAP govt's budget

Environment may again get top priority in AAP govts budget

New Delhi: Besides education and health, the environment could again become the most important issue in the upcoming budget of the Delhi government. The sources in the government said that like last year's budget which was called "Green Budget", this year also green would get a top priority. "All the departments are looking at various aspects of the environment and would discuss the matter with concerned ministers. We are also looking at the last budget and the target reached," said an official.

Environment, transport and PWD are the main departments which would get the priority in this case. Last year also, these departments were in focus. With a focus on green economy and tackling pollution levels in the national capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi last year presented a Rs 53,000 crore annual budget. While education and health continue to be key focus areas of the government, last year the party unveiled a "green budget" to improve the air quality in the city-state. The government also added a timeline section for important schemes of the budget, presented by deputy chief minister and finance minister Manish Sisodia.

In the last budget, the government proposed to give an incentive of up to Rs 1 lakh to industries to switch over to piped natural gas. The subsidy will also be given to firms to switch over to clean fuel-based power generators.

The AAP government also planned to roll out a fleet of 1,000 electric buses along with giving subsidy to e-rickshaw owners and on the purchase of electric cars. The state government lined up a host of renewable energy initiatives that will reduce Delhi's reliance on fossil fuel-based power generation. The government will also give incentives to farmers to install solar panels.

Last year, Deputy CM Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the budget follows "trickle up" economics aiming to benefit poor and middle-class people in Delhi. "The budget estimates for 2018-19 have pegged at Rs 53,000 crore which is 19.45 per cent more than the revised budget estimates of Rs 44,370 crore for the previous financial year," he said in his speech which lasted more than one-and-a-half hour.

"We are going to thread 26 programmes and schemes of transport, power, environment and PWD for devising a unified system of pollution control, bringing down levels of different pollutants," he said, adding the government has also proposed to set aside Rs 1,000 crore for repair and maintenance of smaller roads owned by the municipal corporations.

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