Delhi Assembly passes budget amidst corona outbreak

Delhi Assembly passes budget amidst corona outbreak
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NEW DELHI: Delhi Assembly, on March 23, passed the budget for the financial year 2020-21. The five-day session was cut short to a day, in view of the corona outbreak.

The Rs 65,000-crore budget will be primarily used to further develop the education, health and transportation sectors of the city. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Delhi presented the budget for the sixth consecutive time. The presentation lasted for around an hour and a half and the members of the assembly observed social distancing by leaving the seats between them empty.

A sum of Rs 15,815 crores, which is 24 per cent of the total budget, has been set aside for the education sector for 2020-21. The government is planning to set up digital classrooms in each school and Rs 100 crores has been reserved for this purpose. Along with this, 145 new schools of excellence are proposed.

Rs 7,704 crores has been allocated for health sector. From this amount, Rs 724 crores will be used to build new hospitals and Rs 365 crore for Mohalla clinics and polyclinics.

A total of Rs 5,941 crores has been reserved for public transportation services, in a bid “to guarantee the largest and cheapest public transportation system in Delhi”, according to the Deputy CM. The Government will continue the free-bus ride scheme for the coming year. Sisodia announced that the government is targeting to increase the fleet of Delhi Transportation Corporation (DTC) buses to 11,000 and lay 500 kms of metro lines. The Government is also planning to convert four of its bus depots to multi-level buildings to accommodate the addition of the buses.

Another salient feature of the budget was the specific allocation of Rs 30 crore to curb air pollution in the coming five years. The capital would be used to install smog towers across Delhi. The government will also be introducing “Green Citizen Awards”, which will be awarded to citizens who have contributed significantly in environment preservation.

The Budget allocated Rs 1,700 crore for introducing basic amenities in the unauthorised colonies of Delhi. The Government has also set aside Rs 50 crores to deal with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

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