Your idea of aligning Delhi’s per capita income to that of Singapore by 2047 calls for sustainable job creation. What’s the strategy?
Job creation has always been our priority. In the field of education, we proposed a program to improve young people’s English skills and prepare them for the job market. We want to improve our students’ English skills so that they can find good employment opportunities and better prepare for admission to higher education institutions in India and abroad. We have also developed the Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University which will have world class centers of excellence.
To increase the participation of women in the economy, the Delhi government has planned programs such as the Saheli Samanvay Kendra, according to which 500 Anganwadi hubs will be set up in different parts of the state.
These hubs can be used to incubate individual startups and to promote self-help groups or “samriddhis” (the groups offer training in handicrafts and microcredit for women). In these hubs, special facilities for women will be expanded, including training on opening microeconomic units.
The government has also prepared and is finalizing a draft startup policy to enrich our city’s entrepreneurial culture. This will further support job creation. The lowering of the district rates in the real estate market creates employment opportunities for the poor and marginalized population groups.
We also want to host the 39th Summer Olympics in 2048 and use the next 15 years to build adequate sports infrastructure and create an atmosphere in which the sport flourishes.
How do you intend to channel more investment into infrastructure, which is a priority for both the state and the central government?
Infrastructure growth in Delhi is evident across the city in the areas of education, health, transportation and social development.
In light of the experience gained during the pandemic, the Delhi government has allocated £1,293 crore for various capital projects to expand the health infrastructure. The projects include the construction of hospitals in Jwalapuri, Sirspur, Madipur and Vikaspuri as well as the redesign of 19 existing hospitals. With the completion of the new hospitals and the redesign of the others, the number of hospital beds will increase by over 14,000.
Infrastructure projects such as the extension of the Ashram flyover to the DND flyover (Delhi – Noida Direct), two underpasses between Wazirabad and Azadpur and a bridge in Basaidarapur will be completed this year.
In the last budget we announced the installation of an additional 140,000 CCTV cameras across Delhi. Around 132,000 cameras, including command centers, were installed and made functional.
As much as £200 crore was allocated for the installation of CCTV cameras in the years 2021-22.
In the current industrial revolution, we have recognized the importance of Wi-Fi availability. The Delhi government has installed and activated 7,000 hotspots to give citizens free WiFi access. We believe we have a strong vision based on strict schedules that will help us channel more investment.
Your budget for fiscal 22 is about making Delhi the epicenter of an educated and self-sufficient nation over the next 25 years. This would require greater investment in the social sector. How do you find the financial means?
Our governance focuses on education, health care, women’s empowerment and social development. Our budget covers all important aspects of the development. It’s not just Delhi or India, but the whole world has fought the pandemic.
In the past year, the government’s sources of income dried up, while spending increased several times. The government has decided to cut real estate district rates by 20% for six months to cope with the economic slowdown caused by the lockdown and to support the real estate market.
To recover from the decline in sales and generate better revenues, the government has used data analytics and business intelligence to prevent potential tax collection losses.
We are also investigating how the implementation of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) regime can be improved. We have started monitoring the movement of commercial vehicles in and out of Delhi and have started text messaging with companies about tax issues.
The state’s excise tax policy is undergoing major overhauls to improve tax collection, including by controlling the sale of duty-free alcohol.
We believe these steps will help us increase tax collection and raise the financial resources for future development projects.
People are looking for some relief on gasoline and diesel prices. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has expressed the view that the central and state governments should consider the possibility of moderating taxes on car fuel. Are you ready to discuss it?
The Delhi government has always stood up for the best interests of the people of Delhi and we will continue to make decisions that support the wellbeing of the people. The fuel prices depend on the center. We stand ready to take steps, while speaking with the central government, to ensure that retail fuel prices are at an appropriate level.
The 15th Finance Commission announced that after the introduction of the GST, indirect taxes have decreased. It has also been suggested to merge the GST rates of 12% and 18% to address the problem. Do you support this view?
As a GST Council member, I have made various proposals to the Center. Everyone involved should work together to improve the system.
Budget year 22 mixed development with patriotism. Your comment?
The Delhi government will leave no stone unturned to make the 75th anniversary of our independence unforgettable.
Celebrations will take place in Delhi just 75 weeks before the end of the 75th year, ie from March 12th. In this context we have called the budget “Deshbhakti Budget”.
The planned programs will highlight Delhi’s role in the freedom movement, her journey over the past 75 years and the vision of Delhi in 2047. I invite all citizens to take part in the celebrations. I would ask everyone to take advantage of the new and existing education, health and social development programs.
The Delhi government is committed to the advancement of our people and our goal is to create an educated population that we have seen through global examples over the past century and that will lead to a significant increase in productivity and economic growth.
The Deshbhakti budget prioritizes progress in society, from women to the elderly, students, youth (and people of all religions) and all castes.
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