Retaining its focus on education and health in its budget for 2018-19, the Delhi government on Thursday adopted an innovative approach to reducing air pollution by presenting what it called a “Green Budget”. It’s a 26-point plan involving four departments and a multi-pronged approach. It spells out incentives for switching to cleaner options, lists measures it plans to take and also claims to have measured the potential outcome by way of reduction in pollutants if everything falls into place.
In a first, the government has set deadlines for completion of all projects, opening itself to scrutiny and criticism if there are delays. The only insurance it bought was deputy CM and finance minister Manish Sisodia’s refrain that it all depended on the LG giving approvals.
The government also underlined its economic vision, saying it did not believe in the trickle-down approach – seeking investments and hoping for all-round welfare, which it said had led to “widespread disparity and scams” – but in the “trickle-up” approach that directly benefits the poor and middle-class citizens, giving them better education and health, and facilitates an increase in their income.
Presenting the budget, with a mammoth outlay of Rs 53,000 crore, Sisodia said they believed in an “educated India, healthy India, strong India”, with the aam aadmi their main concern. He drew attention to continuation of the power subsidy to domestic consumers, for which Rs 1,720 crore has been proposed in the next fiscal. Allocation has also been enhanced to Rs 1,500 crore for development work in unauthorised colonies.
Sisodia questioned the grand announcements about smart cities, pointing out that nine out of 20 most polluted cities in the world were in India. So, the budget has roped in the departments of environment, transport, power and public works to make a difference with the help of World Resources Institute…