Education gets key focus in Delhi government budget

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Delhi government on Monday presented an annual budget of Rs.46,600 crore for 2016-17 — an increase of Rs.8,850 crore over last year, with education bagging the lion’s share of Rs.10,690 crore, or nearly 23 percent of the total allocation.

Presenting the budget, Delhi Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “The highest allocation this year has been for eduction. Of the Rs.10,690 crore for education, Rs.4,645 crore has been allocated under the plan head.”

Taking pot shots at the central government, Sisodia said: “We are increasing the education budget every year, whereas the central government, irrespective of the political party in power, has been decreasing the percentage of budget allocation for education every year.”

Sisodia said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government constructed 21 new buildings for government schools last year and these would be made functional in July this year.

“We have constructed 8,000 new classrooms, which are equivalent to the infrastructure of 200 schools. If these schools function in double shifts, then they will be equivalent to 400 schools,” he said, adding that Rs.100 crore has been allocated for installing CCTV cameras in all the schools.

“This year we’ll also focus on training of teachers for which we’ll send them to reputed institutions across the world. We have allocated Rs.102 crore for training of teachers. For skill development of students, we have allocated Rs.152 crore, and Rs.48 crore for strengthening of sports activities in schools,” he added.

The Delhi government has also allocated Rs.350 crore for ‘Swaraj Nidhi’, a fund to execute projects selected through mohalla sabhas. Sisodia also announced implementation of Swaraj Nidhi in all constituencies.

“Last year Swaraj Nidhi was implemented in 11 assembly constituencies. This year, we’ll implement it in all the constituencies,” he said.

The deputy chief minister said that the planned expenditure of the budget has been pegged at Rs.20,600 crore and non-plan at Rs.26,000 crore.

“About 95 percent of the budget will be from our own resources, and only five percent will be provided by the central government. Of the total budget, Rs.36,500 crore will come from the taxes collected,” said Sisodia.

In 2015-16, the budget estimate for the Delhi government was Rs.37,750 crore. It included Rs.21,500 crore non-plan expenditure and Rs.15,350 crore plan expenditure.

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