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Subsidy-driven Delhi budget

Subsidy-driven Delhi budget
The Delhi government has presented its budget for 2018-19 and the areas that received major emphasis include environment, education, and health. The government has introduced a number of new plans and projects to curb air pollution in Delhi. Because of its focus on the environment, the budget has been declared a green budget. Besides its focus on environment, the government intends to spend more on subsidy to the people in various services and under different schemes.
The Delhi government has expressed concerns over rising pollution and introduced 26 plans and policies to combat the same. The government's emphasis on healthcare gets further push in the budget. The AAP government had allocated Rs 4787 crore to the healthcare sector in its first budget, which has been raised to Rs 6,729 crore for 2018-19. Free medical tests and medicine will get a major share of its budget. For the last four years, the government has been spending the most on education. In the budget for 2018-19 too, the government has earmarked 26 per cent of the money for education. The education sector got Rs 13,997 crore out of the Rs 53,000 crore of the total budget. For electricity and water, the government has allocated Rs 2190 crore and Rs 2277 crore respectively. A major part of the allocated budget on the two sectors goes in providing subsidy. The consumers get direct benefit of these subsidies. The government has also earmarked Rs 20 crore to provide aid to national ranking sportspersons between the age of 14 and 17 years. Under Mission Excellence, the sportsperson will receive grants without any age limit. The government has also earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for making roads under the municipal corporation limits besides earmarking Rs 100 crore for installing wifi hotspots across the city.
A highlight of the budget is the subsidy that it has planned to give to the people under various categories. The government has focused more on electricity, water, education, and healthcare sectors. The subsidy has been granted on keeping the electricity tariff lower and providing 20,000 litres of free water to households. Out of the 2190 crore budget for electricity, Rs 1,720 crore will be spent on providing subsidised electricity. Upto 400 units, the consumers will get 50 per cent subsidy that will benefit 83 per cent consumers. For the last three years, the electricity tariff has not been raised. This benefits individual and household consumers, who consume less than 400 units of electricity per month. The electricity budget is lower by Rs 4 crore this year compared to the 2017-18 budget of Rs 2194 crore. On water, the government has offered Rs 427 crore of subsidy and this will benefit 4.5 lakh households. At Rs 2,277 crore, the budget for water this year is higher than the last year's budget of Rs 2108 crore. Out of 22.36 lakh consumers, 4.5 lakh consumers will receive 20,000 litres of water free. On consuming more than 20,000 litres of water, the consumers have to pay full payment. As many as 20 per cent of consumer get direct benefits while 80 per cent consumers have to pay the water bill. The education sector has once again got the largest share of the budget at 26 per cent. Out of Rs 53,000 crore of the total budget, the education sector has got Rs 13,997 crore. This is higher than last year's budget of Rs 11,300 crore. The government has also asked private school not to increase the fees. The government has proposed to increase the total number of hospital beds by 2,100 in five years of its government. The government has proposed free medical tests and treatments in certain cases in private hospitals and has maintained the three-layer health services under Mohalla Clinic, Polyclinic, and hospitals.
The government has also increased the subsidy on E-rickshaw from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000. Those who had got the subsidy of Rs 15,000 crore will get another Rs 15,000 as part of the subsidy. This will benefit 80,000 E-rickshaw owners. The budget for the unauthorised colonies where one-third of the Delhi's population lives has been raised to Rs 1,500 crore from Rs 840 crore last year. By all accounts, this budget is a populist one and has an eye on general elections in 2019 and Assembly elections in 2020. During the course of his budget speech, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia mentioned the Lieutenant-Governor 14 times. Many of the schemes, however, under the budget may not get approved by the L-G.

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