Delhi budget: This budget is for poor, middle class, says Kejriwal
NEW DELHI: In his post-budget press conference, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said it belonged to the aam aadmi and that it would fulfill their dreams. “Jo kaha, so kiya,” (we did what we said we would do) Kejriwal observed. “Lots of parties promise to bring back black money before the elections but after the elections they do yoga,” he said, taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We have delivered on what we had promised. This budget was made after holding many consultations and not behind closed doors. There is no increase in VAT but we have made investments in education and health. This is a budget of the poor and of the middle class,” he said.
But the government has made the only source of entertainment that the poor have — cinema and TV — expensive. This is a double whammy, coming close on the heels of the service tax hike.
Speaking about education, an area on which the government has put its focus, the CM pointed out there was a 106% increase in the allocation for the sector. “I don’t know if there has ever been an increase of such a magnitude in the education sector at one go. This will ensure that even the poor will get a good education. We will give modern infrastructure in government schools and start a pilot project involving 50 schools,” he said. The CM focused on his government’s promise of skill development through incubation centres, safety to women through CCTVs and marshals in buses and swaraj through mohalla sabhas which, he said, would be given a legal status soon. Making Delhi a ‘smart city through Wi-Fi and an integrated transport system was another issue that he touched upon.
“We want even the richest people to use buses in the city and would like to bring 10,000 buses within five years. We believe that if we provide good buses, people will leave their cars and switch to public transport. However, we need 500 acres of land from DDA which says it will sell it to us at Rs 4 crore per acre. Delhi is the only place where for infrastructure development within the city, we need to buy our land,” he said. “I have met UD minister Venkaiah Naidu on this and hope for a quick solution,” he said.
He extended an invitation to trade and industry to come to Delhi. “We are developing Delhi as a business friendly city. We will provide basic facilities like water, sewers, drainage and roads etc to all industrial areas and are confident that industries will come back. We are also reviewing the licensing policy,” said Kejriwal.