New Delhi: The Delhi budget on Monday slashed VAT on the hiked price of petrol but slapped it on transport fuel CNG while beedis, unmanufactured tobacco, sarees, plastic cups and glasses would become costlier with fresh levies on them.
Petrol will be cheaper by Rs 1.26 and will now cost Rs 71.92 a litre after the cut which had risen to Rs 73.18 after last week`s hike. The CNG price will see an increase of Rs 1.77 from Rs 35.45 per kg which may trigger demand for hike in bus, taxi and auto fares besides having an impact on transportation cost of goods.
Hairpins, hairclips, safety pins, saree falls, kirpans, sacred threads, tricycles geometry boxes, crayons and pencil sharpners will also be cheaper with the budget removing or reducing VAT on them. The prices of UPS used for computers will go up as VAT on them has been hiked from five per cent to 12.5 per cent.
The Rs 33,436 crore budget, presented in the Delhi assembly by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, has its dose of populist measures with announcement of a number of social welfare schemes which are aimed at winning back support of voters ahead of next year`s assembly polls.
Other articles which get VAT exemption or slashing of rates include blood filters.
Reaching out to two lakh vulnerable households, Dikshit also announced a cash food subsidy of Rs 600 per month to the senior most female member of the family under a new programme titled Dilli Annashree scheme.
Putting maximum focus on social sector schemes, government allocated a massive Rs 9,796 crore to such programmes out of the total plan outlay of Rs 15,000 crore.
Officials said the cut in VAT on hiked component of petrol and levying of VAT on CNG will come into effect after the assembly approves the budget on June 4.
Defending the introduction of VAT for CNG, Dikshit said, "we have continously forgone VAT on CNG...It is relevant to mention that UP and Haryana are already levying 12.5 per cent and five per cent VAT respectively."
Asked whether the VAT on CNG will trigger demand for hike in auto and taxi fares, Dikshit did not rule out the possibility but maintained that the increase is very minimum.
In a bid to make Delhi the "first kerosene-free state" in the country, she said her government plans to provide a one-time cash subsidy of Rs 2,000 to about 1.75 lakh households for obtaining an LPG connection and purchase of a gas stove. An outlay of Rs 40 crore has been proposed for the scheme.
A cash subsidy of Rs 300 per annum has been announced for purchase of writing material and stationary to students of class I to V while cash subsidy of Rs 400 will be given to students of class VI to VIII studying in government and government aided schools.
The government has also decided to give financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per month to poor persons suffering from HIV/AIDS for anti-retroviral treatment. Orphaned children infected with HIV/AIDS will be given Rs 2,050 per month.
Prioritising development of road infrastructure, Dikshit announced a number of projects including development of Outer Ring Road as `Signal Free Road` involving a cost of about Rs 2,400 crore.
Transport sector got an allocation of Rs 3,372 crore for various projects, including purchase of 600 new low floor DTC buses. The allocation is 22 per cent of the total plan outlay.
The education sector has been allocated Rs 1,901 crore and water and sanitation sector Rs 1,800 crore. Another Rs 631 crore has been earmarked for development activities in unauthorised colonies.
The Chief Minister pegged the tax collection at Rs 26,150 crore. Non-plan allocation were pegged at Rs 18,268 crore.
To improve medical infrastructure, the government plans to construct six new 200-bedded hospitals, one new 100-bedded health centre and a 750-bedded hospital cum medical college.
The new hospital buildings are expected to come up at Burari, Ambedkar Nagar, Hastsal, Madipur and Sarita Vihar. In addition, it would also expand various existing hospitals with the construction of additional blocks.
The Chief Minister also announced setting up of a `Delhi Arogya Kosh` with a corpus of Rs 110 crore which will be used to provide financial assistance to poor people suffering from life threatening diseases.
This year`s budget presentation was delayed due to coming into force of election code of conduct for municipal polls. The government had presented a vote-on-account for expenses for two months due to Model Code. In the vote-on-account, Dikshit had pegged the total budget at Rs 30,970 crore.
In her speech, Dikshit said her government look forward to Delhi emerging as a caring city where citizens proudly aspire to and secure a future for themselves and their children.
"We will continue to look more intensely at the education, health and financial needs of the weaker sections. We would like to see Delhi developing into a good city to live in and a city that caters to the needs of all sections of the society," she said.
The chief minister said the government will pay special attention to qualitative improvements of the vastly upgraded physical infrastructure and expansions of the roads, power, metro and water networks.
"The 12th plan period should see the city fulfilling the needs of the productive and creative citizenry. We shall be looking to the training, skill upgrading, and financing needs of the youth of Delhi... The underpinning principles of our vision for Delhi in the new Five Year Plan is of a good, productive and caring city," Dikshit said.
On the education front, the chief minister said the Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology for Women will be upgraded to an university.