New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government on Monday presented a "tax-free" budget and rationalised the VAT structure which may reduce the cost of products such as readymade garments, shoes, watches and electric and hybrid vehicles in the national capital.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia presented a Rs 46,600 crore annual budget for 2016-17, pegging plan outlay at Rs 20,600 crore. Expectedly, education, health and transport sectors got the lion's share of the total allocation.
The budget also proposed to provide drinking water to all authorised and unauthorised colonies by December 2017 through pipelines. Sisodia set aside an amount of Rs 676 crore in this regard.
Rs 10,690 crore was earmarked for education, a rise of 8.68 percent over last year. Of this, Rs 4,645 crore is for plan expenditure (23 percent), highest among all the heads.
"21 new school buildings have been constructed while 8,000 new classrooms are being built. It equals to the infrastructure of 200 schools. Every classroom will have CCTV cameras installed for which Rs 100 crore has been set aside," Sisodia said.
"The government is committed to reducing tax arbitrage and will attempt to keep a uniform rate with neighbouring states. In several items such as sweets, namkeen, watches, readymade garments, lower tax rate in neighbouring states was causing erosion in the same. We have made efforts to remove such imbalances in our VAT structure," he said.
Elaborating on its three-tier public health roadmap, the government alloted Rs 5,250 crore which forms 16 per cent of the total expenditure, against last year's allocation of Rs 4787 crore.
The transport sector emerged as another priority area with around Rs 1,735 crore being allocated. Rs 10 crore has been alloted for the construction of Aam Aadmi Canteens.
Rs 6,919 crore have been provided to the three civic bodies in the Budget. "We hope the amount will be spent wisely," Sisodia said.
The Gross State Domestic Product of Delhi at current prices is likely to increase to Rs 5,58,745 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 4,94,460 crore in 2014-15, indicating a growth of 13 per cent, he said.
Rs 1,068 crore has been alloted to the area of women safety, security and empowerment and a plan outlay of Rs 1,381 crore for social security and welfare schemes.
Extending the Mohalla Sabha Scheme to all the Constituencies, Sisodia announced Rs 350 crore allocation in 2016-17 for the Citizen Local Area Development (CLAD) scheme.