BJP reduces power tariff in Delhi budget

BJP reduces power tariff in Delhi budget

No new tax bill proposes populist steps

BJP reduces power tariff in Delhi budget

At a time when political circles are abuzz with speculations about the BJP attempting to form a government in Delhi, which is under President’s rule for the last six months, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented a budget without any new taxes for the national capital in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The budget does not offer new big schemes but pushed the government spending in sectors that cater to lower middle class.

Reading out only important major programmes for this fiscal year in the Lower House, Jaitley announced a subsidy of 80 paisa to Rs 1.20 per unit of power for consumers drawing electricity in slabs of 100 to 200 units and 200 to 400 units respectively. He also proposed 50 extra dialysis centres in government hospitals, 20 additional government schools, 110 new ambulances and 1,380 more semi-low floor buses.   

“Increase in power tariffs is necessitated due to increase in input costs. However, the marginalised should not suffer. I, therefore, propose power subsidy of Rs 260 crore for the domestic consumers to provide relief to the targeted consumers on account of increase in tariff,” he said in his written speech.

On Thursday, the power tariff was hiked by 7.5 per cent for domestic consumers but the bills are expected to come down for people who draw less than 400 units per month since Delhi electricity Regulatory Commission withdrew a surcharge of up to eight per cent for the next three months.

The total budget estimate for the year 2014-15 is Rs 36,766 crore. Of this,  Rs 19,066 crore is non-plan expenditure and Rs 17,700 crore is plan expenditure.

Other important proposals include providing financial support to two children of incarcerated parents till they attain age 18,  developing New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area as a solar city and build seven more night shelters .

To resolve water problems for which the Centre has already allocated Rs 50 crore, the government intends to make functional water channel from Munak to Haiderpur and construction and construction of long pending Renuka Dam.

“To provide convenience to the commuters, DTC will introduce an automated fare collection system through electronic ticketing machines and card readers. This system will subsequently be integrated with the fare collection system of Delhi Metro,” he said.

The previous UPA government had presented Delhi Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2014, and the parliament had passed it in February to empower the authorities to withdraw funds to meet expenses for six months which ends in September.  Since the city is under the President’s rule from February 16, the budget for Delhi has to be passed by Parliament.

The budget invited sharp reactions from the political parties. While Congress dubbed it a “shameless” exercise aimed at “garnering votes,” the AAP called it a “betrayal of the people”.

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