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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi presented its third Budget on Wednesday with an eye on upcoming municipal elections. The state government did not introduce any tax for the third year in a row and reduced taxes on sanitary napkins, plywood, granite and other stones.

The Budget for 2017-18 is Rs 48,000 crore, 16.5 per cent higher than the revised estimate of Rs 41,200 crore for 2016-17. 

The state government followed the Union Budget by removing the Plan and non-Plan categories. 

Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said the gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Delhi was expected to rise 12.76 per cent at current prices and 8.26 per cent at constant prices in 2016-17, despite the effects of demonetisation. “The actual impact of demonetisation will be seen in the next financial year,” Sisodia said. He projected the fiscal deficit would rise to Rs 3,701.55 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 2,462.31 crore in the revised estimate for the current financial year. The revised estimate was lower than the Rs 2,840.75 crore budget estimate for 2016-17. A year ago, the Delhi government had a fiscal surplus of Rs 1,321.92 crore.

“The projected tax revenue collection for 2017-18 is Rs 38,700 crore, which is 19.33 per cent higher than the revised estimate of Rs 32,440 crore in 2016-17. This estimate is based on the belief that there will be tax buoyancy on implementation of the GST,” Sisodia said.  

The government has increased expenditure on education and health and has provided more funds to the three Delhi municipalities.

Sisodia said the government would provide support of Rs 7,571 crore to local bodies, 14.9 per cent higher than the revised estimate for 2016-17. “In view of the poor financial position the North and East Municipal Corporations, we have not recovered the principal and interest on outstanding loan liabilities during 2015-16 and 2016-17,” he pointed out.

The government has decided to lay groundwater pipelines in unauthorised colonies and has increased the pension of senior citizens by Rs 1,000 per month and by Rs 2,000 per month for people with disabilities and widows. Salaries of guest teachers in schools have been increased to Rs 25,000-36,000 from Rs 17,000-22,000. Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister, announced the government would provide tablets to all school teachers.

The outlay for education is Rs 11,300 crore, 24 per cent of the total .

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