Education is focus as Sisodia presents first budget of AAP 2.0

Written by Sourav Roy Barman
| New Delhi |

Updated: March 23, 2020 8:13:56 pm


As the budget session was made a day-long affair due to the coronavirus, Sisodia also tabled the economic survey for 2019-20 and the outcome budget of the ongoing financial year (till December 2019) on Monday.

An outlay of Rs 65,000 crore will keep Delhi running in 2020-21, helping it fund its existing services as well as new projects, Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said on Monday, presenting the first annual budget of the AAP government in its second term.

The highlight of Sisodia’s nearly hour-long speech was his attempt to repackage the AAP’s initiatives in bringing about improvements in fields of education, health, water and power as the “Kejriwal model” of governance and economy, having returned to office powered by the AAP chief’s mass appeal.

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Sisodia stressed that the city’s economy was sound with the basic economic components remaining “very strong”. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) was likely to record a growth of 10.48 per cent in 2019-20 (at current prices), he said, pegging the per capita income at Rs 3.89 lakh.

He reminded that the size of the AAP government’s first budget was Rs 30,000 crore while per capita income was Rs 2.70 lakh. Incidentally, Sisodia’s last budget had an allocation of Rs 60,000 crore, which was later revised to 54,800 crore.

The fine print does indicate that the government is likely to miss its budgetary target of GST collections of Rs 29,000 crore in 2019-20. The total GST and VAT collections till February, 2020 stand at Rs 22,808 crore, states the budget, against the revised estimate of Rs 27,000. Excise duty collection has seen a shortfall with Rs 4,669 crore being collected till February against the budgeted target of Rs 6,000 crore in 2019-20.

For the year 2020-21, the target of GST, including VAT, has been proposed at Rs 30,000 crore while excise revenue has been targeted at Rs 6,300 crore.

The budget, which did not impose any additional taxes on citizens, largely revolved around making allocations to fund existing schemes, while most of the fresh initiatives are in the education sector. The government’s decision to implement the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme are among the highlights, apart from the plan to rebrand Delhi’s tourism sector.

With the budget being presented amid an outbreak of coronavirus, the government allotted Rs 3 crore to tackle it in the revised estimates of Rs 2019-20 and Rs 50 crore for the next financial year. No separate announcements were made for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the communal riots-hit Northeast district.

As the budget session was made a day-long affair due to the coronavirus, Sisodia also tabled the economic survey for 2019-20 and the outcome budget of the ongoing financial year (till December 2019) on Monday.

“We had promised to make Delhi a world class city. Today, Delhi is considered a model of development. This has come to be recognised as the Kejriwal model of governance across the country. The model hinges on educating every child. There has been work in the area of education in the past as well. However, under that model only 5 per cent students received good education. But Kejriwal model of governance has proven that every child can receive standard education. Same goes for health… many states are replicating these schemes,” Sisodia said.

While Rs 467 crore has been set aside for the free lifeline water subsidy scheme for providing 20,000 litres of water free to 6 lakh beneficiaries, Rs 2,820 crore has been allotted for the power subsidy scheme. Sisodia also promised to keep the free bus rides scheme for women running in the coming year as well.

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https://indianexpress.com/article/education/education-is-focus-as-sisodia-presents-first-budget-of-aap-2-0-6328264/

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