New Delhi: No new tax was levied and chilly spray, desi ghee and LED lights will be cheaper with Delhi government on Wednesday proposing to reduce or eliminate VAT on them in its budget which focussed on social sector in an election year as Congress seeks a record 4th term in power.
Presenting the Rs 37,450-crore budget in the state assembly, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit amid occasional protests by opposition BJP MLAs, said "I am proposing a tax free-budget".
In her around 90-minute budget speech, Dikshit expressed confidence that the national capital's growth will touch nine percent against the national average of five percent as she outlined the development activities taken up by her government in several sectors, including health, water, infrastructure and transport.
With assembly poll expected in November this year and after a drubbing Congress got in last year's municipal election, Dikshit sought to woo the electorate with enhanced social spending, earmarking Rs 10,351 crore or 65 percent of total plan outlay of Rs 16,000 crore. The non-plan outlay is Rs 21,000 crore.
Among the sectors, transport has got the highest allocation of Rs 3,876 crore followed by Health Rs 2,490 crore, Education Rs 1981 crore, Urban Development Rs 1840 crore and Water Rs 1,665 crore.
"Delhi is on track to grow at nine per cent compared to five percent for the country...The per capita income of Delhi now stands at Rs 2,01,083. It has gone up by five times since this government came into power. In 1998, when we came to power it was Rs 40,060," she said.
The budget has completely withdrawn the 12.5 percent VAT on chilly spray , a self-defence device which could be used against attackers in the city which earned notoreity for crime against women. "It is our duty to empower women by way of self-defence," she said.
Last year, Dikshit had presented a Rs 33,436 crore budget with a plan outlay of Rs 15,000 crore. In 2011-12 when she had presented the budget for the first time, the budget size was Rs 27,067 crore with a plan outlay of Rs 13,600 crore.
This was the third consecutive year Dikshit presented the budget since taking over the Finance portfolio.