AAP govt unveils ‘green budget’ in bid to improve Delhi’s air quality

New Delhi: With a focus on green economy and tackling pollution levels in the national capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi on Thursday presented a Rs53,000 crore annual budget.

While education and health continue to be key focus areas of the government, this time the party unveiled a “green budget” to improve the air quality in the city-state. The government also added a timeline section for important schemes of the budget, presented by deputy chief minister and finance minister Manish Sisodia.

“In this budget, there is something for everyone in the society. This is the first dream budget. Tackling pollution has been a big problem in Delhi and this budget has focused on that. The emphasis on education and health has continued. Development will be taken to every house,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters after the budget presentation.

The budget has put an emphasis on improving the environment, health, education, water, sewer and road infrastructure in the city.

“We reduced raid culture, had faith in our traders, reduced tax leakages and have managed to increase our budget estimate by over Rs20,000 crore,” the CM said.

There has been growing concern over air pollution in Delhi, and the government has proposed to analyse the factors behind it on a real-time basis.

“I am happy to announce that we have shortlisted 26 separate programmes and projects proposed by four departments of Delhi government—environment, transport, power and public works —and attempted to bring them together in the form of a concerted initiative to control pollution,” Sisodia said in his budget speech.

The government has proposed to give incentive of up to Rs1 lakh to industries to switch over to piped natural gas. Subsidy will also be given to firms to switch over to clean fuel-based power generators.

The AAP government also plans to roll out a fleet of 1,000 electric buses along with giving subsidy to e-rickshaw owners and on the purchase of electric cars.

Sisodia said the state government has lined up a host of renewable energy initiatives that will reduce Delhi’s reliance on fossil fuel-based power generation. The government will also give incentives to farmers to install solar panels. In education which accounts for 26% of the total budget allocation, the government proposes to build 12,748 classrooms and 30 new schools. It also plan to install 120,000 surveillance cameras in government school buildings at a cost of Rs175 crore.

The government has proposed to launch a universal health insurance scheme with an outlay of Rs100 crore. A committee has been prepared to draft the guidelines.

Presenting his first budget since the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), Sisodia said: “During the current financial year, up to February 2018, we have collected revenue of Rs22,887 crore, registering a growth of 17.6% over last year.”

In the past, the AAP government has presented an “education and health budget’ and “outcome budget”.livemint


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