A future-ready Delhi: The innovative Budget of 2023-24
New Delhi: The budgetary allocation for the fiscal year 2023-24 by the Delhi Government under the astute leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is a testament to its visionary plans for sustainable development in the capital. This comprehensive budget lays out an ambitious roadmap for the creation of a resilient, innovative, and inclusive Delhi, focusing on critical areas such as environment, infrastructure, education, and healthcare.
One of the central themes of this year’s budget is the transformation of Delhi into a cleaner, more beautiful, and modern city, reflected in the nine ambitious schemes under the “CLEAN, BEAUTIFUL AND MODERN DELHI” theme. The Government’s firm commitment to the reduction of pollution and fostering sustainable development is apparent in several initiatives, including the induction of electric buses, the upgrading and beautification of the PWD road network, and the Clean Yamuna initiative.
Of particular significance is the emphasis on sustainable transportation, with the government intending to introduce 1,600 zero-emission electric buses next year and aiming for a fleet of 8,280 electric buses by 2025. Such an initiative represents a substantial step towards eco-friendly public transport, reducing air pollution and contributing to a healthier environment for Delhi’s residents.
The government’s extensive project to upgrade and beautify 1,400 km of the PWD road network is yet another crucial initiative aimed at improving the city’s infrastructure and aesthetics. With an estimated expenditure of Rs 20,000 crore over ten years, this project is unprecedented in Delhi’s history and represents a bold step forward towards a more modern and visually appealing cityscape.
The budget’s focus on environmental sustainability is further demonstrated by the six-point action plan for cleaning the Yamuna River. The plan’s comprehensive approach includes expanding the sewer network, doubling the number of unauthorized colonies connected to the sewer network, and significantly increasing sewage treatment capacity. The government has demonstrated its determination to preserve Delhi’s natural resources and enhance the quality of life for its residents under the plan.
The budget shines a spotlight on Delhi’s educational transformation, allocating
Rs 16,575 crore to this vital sector. The government plans to expand Dr. Ambedkar Schools of Specialized Excellence, providing students with opportunities to excel in various fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), humanities, performing arts, and high-end 21st-century skills.
The provision of tablets to educators and administrative staff is an additional measure to improve the quality of education. This step will enable teachers to access digital resources and enhance their teaching methods, ensuring students receive a modern and high-quality education.
The budget allocates
Rs 9,742 crore to the health sector, emphasizing the government’s focus on the well-being of its people. The plan to increase the number of Mahila Mohalla Clinics, free testing facilities, and expanding hospital capacity demonstrates the commitment to providing accessible and quality healthcare to all residents.
The construction of nine new hospitals and the expansion of existing ones further solidifies the government’s commitment to improving the city’s healthcare infrastructure. The government also aims to increase the number of beds available for patients in government hospitals, ensuring that every citizen has access to adequate healthcare services.
The Delhi Jal Board’s initiatives, such as providing water pipelines and connections to every house, ensuring 24-hour water availability, increasing water supply, and reviving 20 big lakes across the city, demonstrate the government’s resolve to address water scarcity and improve the quality of life for its citizens. These measures will not only ensure that every household has access to clean water but also contribute to the preservation and management of the city’s water resources.
In addition to these initiatives, the government aims to collaborate with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to eliminate three major landfill sites within the next two years. This effort addresses a long-standing environmental and public health issue and showcases how different levels of government can work together to bring about positive change.
In summary, the Delhi Government’s budget for 2023-24 is a visionary plan for creating a resilient, innovative, and inclusive capital. Through its comprehensive and forward-looking approach, this budget sets the stage for sustainable development, ultimately improving the quality of life for all citizens of Delhi.
The ambitious initiatives in sustainable transportation, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and water management demonstrate the government’s dedication to addressing the city’s most pressing challenges. As the capital embarks on this transformative journey, it is poised to become a shining example for other cities in India and around the world.
With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the helm, Delhi is well on its way to achieving its vision of becoming a world-class city. This innovative budget for 2023-24 serves as a testament to the government’s commitment to ensuring a brighter, more resilient, and inclusive future for all Delhiites.’
(Akshay Malhotra is an independent researcher. He has been a U.S. State Department Fellow and was also earlier associated with the Delhi Legislative Assembly under the Delhi Assembly Research Centre Fellowship Programme)