NEW DELHI: At a time when the city is reeling under the impact of inflation and a much weakened rupee, chief minister Sheila Dikshit said her budget was “people-friendly and situation-friendly”. She refused to accept, as many observers were saying, that it was election-oriented and that the measures proposed for the social sector were just sops for the poor. “For me this budget is for ‘roti, shiksha and swasthya’ for all citizens,” she said.
Skill upgradation and opportunities for self-employment will be the focus areas in the days to come. The government will also concentrate on development of road infrastructure projects.
“We know we are going to face elections next year, but please remember all our budgets in the last few years have been people-friendly. This budget was not prepared keeping in mind the elections,” she said after she was done with the job. She added that elections could not be predicted a year-and-a-half in advance. “Everyone thought that we would lose in 2008 but we won. So how can we say what will happen next year,” the CM asked.
When questioned about the five per cent VAT imposed on CNG, Dikshit said she cannot promise that there would not be any hike in bus and taxi fares. But she refused to see this increase of Rs 1.77 per kg of CNG as a burden on people though autos, buses and taxis running on CNG are the common man’s primary mode of transport.
“We have imposed VAT on CNG as this is one avenue of revenue generation which we had not touched so far. But neighboring states of UP and Haryana have already levied VAT on CNG. Hence we thought of introducing the tax. Let’s see what happens. Since it is public transport which runs on CNG, the government will absorb much of the impact,” Dikshit said. Dikshit said that the budget was coming at a time when the 12th Five Year Plan was taking off and hence the document contained many more proposals and schemes.