Steering clear of introducing any new taxes, the Aam Aadmi Party government’s third budget for 2017-18 has a larger outlay of Rs 48,000 crore with education and healthy clearly singled out as priority sectors. Public transport, water, and sanitation are also projected as critical to its model of welfare and development. In the previous Budget, the Delhi government wanted to boost public transport by introducing 3,000 buses. This time, it seems it has dropped the ball together.
The lowest VAT regime in the country which it announced last year, the government has proposed a reduction of VAT on items ranging from air turbine fuel (ATF) of airlines operating on regional connectivity routes to sanitary napkins and construction material such as granite and plywood, blackboards and particle boards, among others. However, the VAT slabs will be applicable only till GST is implemented. Once that happens, the VAT cuts will require a review under the GST framework and accordingly amalgamated into the new system.
Additional Mohalla Clinics and polyclinics will mean that primary healthcare will come closer. In several government hospitals in Delhi, the patients’ load is so high that beds have to be shared by two or even three patients. An increase in the number of beds will mean that you will get a bed to yourself even in the government hospitals. All Delhi citizens will be covered under the health insurance which will provide at least Rs 1 lakh cover at a very little premium.
Students in over 1,100 government schools will get bananas and boiled eggs in their midday meals. Girl students will get midday meals till class 12. Teachers will be provided tablets to track the progress of students. The government has also promised to renovate staff rooms in government schools. Sanitary pads to get cheaper as the government has cut the value added tax on it from 12.5% to 5%.
With an eye on the municipal poll, the government has earmarked a record Rs 7,571 crore for the civic bodies, which comes to about 15% of the total allocation. Manish Sisodia said the AAP government will continue to give subsidy to battery-operated vehicles as part of efforts to promote an eco-friendly public transport system. Also, subsidies on water and power will stay.
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