Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot on Wednesday presented an infrastructure-driven ₹78,800 crore Budget for the financial year 2023-24 to make the capital city “clean, beautiful and modern” with ₹21,817 crore earmarked for capital expenditure.

Gahlot presented the Budget a day after the Centre gave the go ahead on Tuesday, ending the recent tussle between the two regimes.

Key to infrastructure push are three double-decker flyovers linking Bhajanpura to Yamuna Vihar; Azadpur to Rani Jhansi intersections; and Saket to Pul Prahaladpur -- at a cost of ₹320 crore. The flyovers have been designed to save ₹121 crore of taxpayers money, said the finance minister

Twenty-six new flyovers and underpasses will be built besides nine different schemes to beautify Delhi’s road network to bring them at par with the global standards, Gahlot told the MLAs. The Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar will be developed like an airport. While, an ISBT of international standard is to come up Dwarka also, the minister announced.

“Today the government has made Delhi a city of tricolours. The upcoming budget is important for Delhi as we are hosting the G20. So this budget is dedicated to a Saaf (clean), Sundar (beautiful) and Aadhunik (modern) Delhi, said the minister.

Education, health

The Kejriwal government continued its emphasis on education and health with the biggest chunk of ₹16,575 crore earmarked for education which is slightly higher than the allocation for previous financial year which stood at ₹16,278 crore. Similarly, the allocation for health is ₹9,742 crore, followed by ₹6,343 crore on water supply and sanitation, and ₹3,348 crore on power for FY23-24.

“Delhi has been affected due to GST compensation being ended in June 2022,” the finance minister said to emphasise that the national capital has been getting only ₹325 crore as share in central taxes.

The government, stated Gahlot, would provide 20 new computers to each of its 350 schools and French, German, Japanese and Spanish would be taught in Schools of Specialised Excellence whose numbers would be increased from 20 to 37. The AAP regime would start new schools for applied learning which would be run in collaboration between education department and industry. In 2018, the AAP government had provided tablets to all teachers. In this budget, the finance minister has proposed to give new tablets to all teachers and deputy directors of education department.

Tackling pollution

To tackle pollution, the finance minister stated the government proposes to set up a lab for real-time pollution data monitoring and gathering in each district. “Due to the efforts of Delhiites, PM10 and PM2.5 have reduced by more than 30 per cent in the last eight years. The days of ‘severe’ air quality has come down from 26 in 2016 to six in 2022,” Gahlot told the assembly. The government will plant 52 lakh trees in this financial year with the objective of reducing road dust pollution.

To add to India’s mission to check carbon emission, Delhi government has offered to spend ₹28,556 crore in next dozen years to induct more electric buses into its fleet. In this financial year alone, 100 e-buses will be launched to execute mohalla bus scheme announced for the first time in the budget. The ruling dispensation has allocated ₹3,500 crore to improve Delhi’s public transport system. Another ₹1,500 crore has been set aside for electrification of 57 bus depots, the minister told the House.

In the power sector, the minister stated that 84 percent of Delhiites took benefit of the power subsidy and by 2025, 6,000 MW of solar infrastructure would be established. For electric vehicles, 900 charging points at 100 stations would be set up, announced the minister.

To reach out to women, the AAP government has decided to open 100 more women mohalla clinics. As of now there are just four such clinics through which 42,000 have been treated. Besides, free ride on government buses for women would continue.