The AAP-led Delhi government today presented a Rs 69,000- crore Budget for the financial year 2021-22 in the state Assembly in the lingering shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, which declared free Covid vaccination for all in its hospitals.
It was projected as a “Deshbhakti”(patriotism)- themed Budget under which installation of 500 flag masts and programmes on the lives of freedom fighters are planned across the city.
It was the Arvind Kejriwal government’s first paperless Budget which deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, read out from a tablet computer in the Assembly.
Presenting the Delhi Budget for the seventh consecutive time in the House, Sisodia said that there will be a “deshbhakti period” in the city schools.
In the 2021-22 Budget, education, health and transport have received higher allocations.
Sisodia proposed to allocate Rs 16,377 crore, one-fourth of the total Budget outlay, for the education sector, while the health sector got Rs 9,934 crore or 14 per cent of the Budget.
He said the Kejriwal-led Delhi government will celebrate the country’s 75th Independence Day and organise various programmes for 75 weeks starting 12 March in the run-up to the mega event.
The AAP government has proposed to allocate Rs 45 crore to install high masts to hoist the national flag at 500 places across Delhi.
“We have allocated Rs 45 crore for 500 flag masts across Delhi. They will be similar to the one we have at the Central Park in Connaught Place. So even if someone covers a distance of two km from his home, he will get to see the tricolour in all its glory and feel patriotic,” Sisodia said.
He said Rs 10 crore each has been proposed for programmes on the lives of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar during the 75-week “deshbhakti” celebrations.
Grand events under “Festivals of India” and “Indian Classical Music Festival” were among the major highlights of the 75-week-long celebration, to be held from this Friday till 15 August 2022.
Sisodia also announced that the Covid vaccine will be administered to people for free at the hospitals run by the Delhi government in the coming phases of the inoculation drive.
He said an allocation of Rs 50 crore has been made under the “Aam Aadmi Nishulk Covid Vaccine Yojana” in this regard.
Currently, vaccination at the hospitals run by the Centre and the Delhi government is free for senior citizens and those in the 45-59 age group with comorbidities, while an amount of Rs 250 is being charged at private hospitals.
“Learning from our Covid- 19 management, an amount of Rs 1,293 crore has been set aside for the expansion of healthcare services, including for opening new hospitals, renovating old ones and augmenting beds,” Sisodia said.
He also announced that special “Mahila Mohalla Clinics” will be opened in Delhi from next year and 100 such clinics will come up in the first phase.
The AAP government plans to increase Delhi’s per capita income to the level of Singapore by 2047, Sisodia said, pointing out that the total outlay of the Budget was 6.1 per cent more than the budget presented for the financial year 2020-21.
He said smart health cards will be issued to every citizen in Delhi, adding that a health information management system is being implemented.
Sisodia also said 100 specialised schools of excellence will be set up across the national capital and a virtual model school will be set up to promote and adopt technology.
“The Delhi government will also start universities for teacher training and law studies,” he said.
One Sainik school was proposed in Delhi in the Budget. Besides, the AAP government has also decided to provide yoga instructors in colonies for which an amount of Rs 25 crore has been allocated in it.
CM Kejriwal said that “deshbhakti” is the “defining feature” of this Budget as it pays tributes to freedom fighters and hopes to work towards building the capital and the country as envisioned by them.
~With inputs from PTI~