The water and power subsidy doled out by Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has apparently come at the cost of Delhi's infrastructure projects. The budgetary allocation under the planned head has been reduced by Rs 1,350 crore for the fiscal year 2015-16.
A Delhi government official said it is the fund under the planned outlay which is used for executing the infrastructure projects and other government schemes.
At the same time, the allocation under non-planned head has been increased by Rs 2,500 crore. This means that there will be an increase in expenditure for establishments like the newly-formed Delhi Dialogue Commission and office expenses of the new posts created for the MLAs and volunteers of AAP. This also includes appointment of 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries to the Cabinet ministers of the Delhi government.
Presenting the vote-on-account for the first three months of the fiscal year 2015-16, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said nearly 40 per cent of the planned Budget for the current financial year remained unutilised.
Further, the revenue collection of the government too declined during the fiscal, which prompted the government to reduce the planned outlay for the next year.
The planned budget for the year 2015-16 has been reduced to Rs 15,350 crore from Rs 16,700 crore in the previous year. On the other hand, the nonplanned outlay has been increased to Rs 21,500 crore from Rs 19,066 crore in 2014-15.
The deputy chief minister said the budget for the planned head has been reduced by Rs 1,350 crore while the water and power subsidy will incur a cost of nearly Rs 1,600 crore to the government.
Almost all major infrastructure sectors, including public works, housing, urban and rural development have seen reduction in the budgetary allocation. However, funds have been increased for public health, education and power sectors.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the vote-on-account, saying it will put development projects on the backburner while the establishment expenditure of the government will increase. BJP's legislative party leader Vijender Gupta alleged the capital outlay meant for development works has been reduced to fulfil the AAP's agenda, including water and power subsidy.
"Reducing the planned expenditure will slow down the infrastructure projects. The ongoing projects will be stalled and no new projects will come up in the next year. At the same time, establishment expenditure will go up, which will put burden on the taxpayers.
The vote-onaccount also does not suggest any way to overcome the financial deficit," Gupta said. Meanwhile, the government sought approval of vote-onaccount for the first three months while proposing an estimated budget of Rs 37,750 crore for 2015-16. Sisodia said the AAP wanted people's participation in formulation of the Budget.