Home >Politics >Policy >FM proposes Rs260 crore for power subsidy in Delhi budget

New Delhi: Preparing for dominance in Delhi politics, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre on Friday presented a no-new-taxes budget for the city-state with an outlay of 36,766 crore, focusing on social inclusion and development of infrastructure.

The BJP, which fell four seats short of a majority in the Delhi assembly in the December state election, seems to be preparing for elections again.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi back from the BRICS summit in Brazil and newly elected party chief Amit Shah expected in the Capital on Saturday, the party’s top leadership is expected to meet and discuss the political possibilities in Delhi, according to a party leader familiar with the development.

Delhi came under President’s rule after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government led by Arvind Kejriwal, formed with the support of the Congress, resigned in February after 49 days in office when the introduction of an anti-graft Bill was thwarted by resistance from the BJP and Congress.

Three of BJP’s Delhi legislators have become Lok Sabha members, reducing its number in the state assembly to 28. Its ally Shiromani Akali Dal has one legislator.

The budget, presented in Lok Sabha by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, outlined proposals to construct 20 new schools ( 350 crore), promised senior secondary schools exclusively for girls in all legislative assembly constituencies, and a new school of planning, architecture and design ( 285 crore) in east Delhi.

For the health sector, Jaitley announced an outlay of 2,724 crore during 2014-15. The plan includes a multi-speciality hospital and a new medical college with 100 seats.

The city-state will get an additional 400 cluster buses in the current fiscal year while the inter-state bus terminuses (ISBTs) at Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar are to be upgraded as part of plans to enhance commuter services. “Private-sector corporate operators will add 400 new cluster buses, making it a fleet of about 1,600 cluster buses during this financial year," Jaitley said.

For the transport sector, the budget has proposed a 3,702 crore plan.

Jaitley also announced construction of three new 220 kilovolt gas insulated switchgear substations in the current fiscal year.

Increases in power tariffs “are necessitated due to increase in input costs. However, the poor and marginalized should not suffer. I, therefore, propose power subsidy of 260 crore for the domestic consumers to provide relief to the targeted consumers on account of increase in tariff", the finance minister said.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on Thursday approved a tariff hike of 8.32% for the city’s three electricity distribution utilities.

The budget also proposed to increase the plan outlay for pensions to senior citizens from 538 crore in 2013-14 to 600 crore in 2014-15,.

The AAP had made water and electricity key parts of its election plank. It won 28 seats in the 70-member assembly.

Opposition members in the Lok Sabha remarked that the budget looked like the BJP’s manifesto.

The AAP on Friday termed the Delhi budget a “betrayal" of the people, criticizing Jaitley for not fulfilling the BJP’s promise of reducing electricity tariffs by 30%.

“...the budget has failed to provide any relief to the common man. There is no mention in the budget of how water-starved areas in Delhi will get adequate supply of water...," a statement by the party said.

The budget is expected to be discussed and passed next week.

Gyan Varma and Anuja contributed to this story.

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