The Third Delhi Legislative Assembly

(Budget Session)

21st JULY, 2004

            Respected Speaker and Hon’ble Members,

       I extend a warm welcome to all of you to the Budget Session of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi for the year 2004.
       In the previous session of this Assembly held in December 2003, my Government had shared with you its vision for Delhi. It had also set the agenda for governance the unending quest for making Delhi an international city – a city that can truly and justifiably boast of world–class infrastructure to support its growing needs. Now, in the context of the Commonwealth Games, which are also to be held here in the year 2010, our resolve gets further strengthened. The Government will leave no stone unturned to realise this vision. To begin with, we shall further consolidate the gains that we have made during the last few years in key areas of infrastructure such as power, water, roads and bridges and in automating delivery of its services to citizens. This would be accompanied by expansion of the existing infrastructure network wherever it is possible to do so.
       In addition to the above, development with a human face had been outlined as a priority of this Government. We had spelt our goal of improving the quality of life of each individual in this city. While working overtime to put in place a world-class infrastructure that would provide the burgeoning population of the city with basic services in the realm of power, water and surface transport, the Government is also conscious of its commitment and duty to work for the welfare of the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of society the women, the children, the old and the infirm, the senior citizens, people belonging to SC and ST, slum dwellers, etc. My Government’s programmes and policies would, both in content and form, be tailor made for their welfare, social security and safety.
       In the first instance, this Government reiterates that for realising the above vision and strategy it is essential that we minimize the multiplicity of decision-making and policy-making agencies. The Government of NCT of Delhi should be granted statehood by bringing about relevant institutional and structural reforms.
        In line with its commitment to make Delhi an international city with state-of-the-art connectivity and environmentally sustainable technology, the Government of Delhi intends to make huge investments in the core infrastructure sectors comprising roads, flyovers, expressways and hi-tech public transport system. While the stress will be on roads that enable traffic movements smoothly thereby saving on fuel and decreasing pollution, public transport will be such that maximum number of people can commute from one destination to another in a cost effective manner and lesser time. Our efforts will be both to upgrade and to modernise the existing modes of transport.
       My Government is happy to inform this august House that the corridor from Shahdara to Rithala of the Delhi Metro was commissioned in March this year. This notable achievement has significantly reduced travel time of commuters on this corridor. Work in respect of Vishwa Vidyalaya , Central Secretariat and Barakhamba Road, Dwarka corridor is in full swing and both these corridors are expected to be made operational by March 2005. The Delhi Transport Corporation, the public transport provider of the city, will be restructured to improve its functioning. Two more ISBTs would be constructed in Narela and Dwarka and the ISBT at Sarai Kale Khan would be upgraded and provided with modern facilities. It has also been planned to introduce High Capacity Bus Systems in identified corridors to supplement the existing network. Tamper proof Smart cards would be introduced for registration of vehicles and driving licenses. Radio Taxis would be increased from 120 to 500. In addition to the facility of concessional travel to students, residents of resettlement colonies, Freedom Fighters and Handicapped persons, the Government and DTC have now extended the facility of concessional travel to Senior Citizens on nominal payment of Rs.50/- a month.
       Since 1999, 20 flyovers have been completed, and 12 more are under construction. These flyovers will immensely help in managing vehicular traffic on Delhi’s roads. A project to ease traffic congestion on NH-2 (Mathura Road) between Ashram and Sarita Vihar has been undertaken. Under this project a 6.5 Km long Kalindi bypass along the bank of river Yamuna is being constructed. Strengthening and resurfacing of Ring Road has also been taken up at a cost of Rs. 18 Crores. The work is almost complete. A new bridge across the river Yamuna would be built that would connect Geeta Colony and Shantivan. The estimated cost of the new bridge is Rs. 130 crores. A new 3.5 km road would be constructed that would link Karkari Mor with Marginal bund over the disused Canal. This link is expected to cost Rs. 87 crores. Work on both these project is likely to commence in this month. A new bridge is also proposed to be constructed near Wazirabad. A new General Pool Office Building near Metcalf House would also be taken up to house offices of departments under the Government. While the District Court Building at Rohini is nearing completion, construction of another court building at Dwarka has begun. Availability of power is critical to the survival of any vibrant city. To enable wheeling of power into transmission lines around Delhi, we have completed 400 KV transmission line connecting Bamnauli to Ballabhgard. Further, 300 MVA transformation capacity has been added to the system. Three new 220 KV sub-stations would be built at Siri Fort, Geeta Colony and Papan Kalan this year. Work on building a 400 KV sub-station at Maharani Bagh is likely to commence shortly. On the supply side, electricity generation has increased by 3518 MU in 03-04 an increase of 46% over last year. We plan to generate a total of 6300 MU of electricity in the current financial year. This is an increase of 1137 MU over last year. We have also completed feasibility studies for setting up 1000 MW CCGT plant in Bawana. A proposal to revive and modernize the aging Indraprastha Power Station is under the consideration of the Government. The Government will also keep a watch on the performance of the private distribution companies and the concern of the public on this front will be brought to the notice of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission.
       Coming to the water sector, physical work of 140 MGD Water Treatment Plant at Sonia Vihar is almost complete. However, the Plant has not been commissioned as the supply of raw water to Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant from Tehri/Upper Ganga Canal has not yet commenced. For this purpose we are in constant touch with the Central Government as well as the State Governments of Uttranchal and Uttar Pradesh and we are confident, water from this Plant would soon start flowing into taps of homes in Delhi. Construction on parallel lined channel from Munak ((Haryana) to Haiderpur(Delhi) is in full swing. This will augment the water supply by 80 MGD which will help in commissioning the Water Treatment Plant at Dwarka and Bawana and fully commission the plant in Nangloi. Revenue collections in the year 2003-04 stood at Rs. 267.50 crores an increase of 23% over collection for the last year.
        The growth of a city, not only in terms of population but also as a vibrant hub of economic and commercial activity inevitably has its own unintended impact. Industrialisation and the sharp increase in motorised transport over the last two decades have resulted in damage to the ecological balance and environmental degradation of the city. The fight against air pollution in Delhi, which started in 1998 with the switching over to CNG fuel, is now showing results. The levels of various pollutants in the ambient air have declined substantially. The efforts of this Government have helped increase the forest cover of Delhi from 88 sq. km. in 1999 to the present 151 sq. km. The public campaigns of the Environment Department such as Anti-fire Crackers, Say no to Plastic Bags, Clean Yamuna, Khelo Holi Naturally, and Greening Delhi have helped create mass awareness on these issues. The new initiative for Garbage Segregation into recyclable and biodegradable garbage at source has been taken up with full vigour. The issues relating to the rejuvenation of the River Yamuna, including problems of sewerage and functioning of STPs is a priority of this Government. The orders of the Apex Court for relocation of industries from residential and non- conforming areas is being carried out by way of allotments in the existing developed industrial areas as well as by developing new industrial areas for modern and automated industries.
        The basis of collection of property tax has been rationalized. The new system of collection of property tax based on Unit Area Method has been introduced with effect from 1 April 2004, in areas governed by Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The Government proposes to restructure the existing administrative set-up of MCD to improve efficiency and reduce transaction costs. We also plan to provide shelter to the homeless by constructing dwelling units for them. The Government is vigorously engaged in the task of providing basic civic services to the slum dwellers who were relocated during last year. Moreover, the Government has recommended for the regularization of unauthorised colonies on the basis of the previous 1976-77 policy. The Government has clearly spelt out its stand with regard to these unauthorised colonies and we will attempt to resolve this issue at the earliest.
        The Government is aware that a revenue collection from sales tax forms the bulk of its revenue receipts. It is also aware that there is a need to simplify tax collection procedures in a manner that not only benefits dealers but also helps the department in increasing its tax collections. There is a proposal to introduce dematting of statutory forms to simplify procedure for benefit of dealers. Refunds would henceforth be made through Electronic Clearance Scheme. Summary Assessment Scheme is likely to be made compulsory for all eligible dealers. In line with the Central Government thinking on the subject. There is a proposal to introduce dematting of statutory forms to simplify procedure for benefit of dealers. Refunds would henceforth be made through Electronic Clearance Scheme. Summary Assessment Scheme is likely to be made compulsory for all eligible dealers. In line with the Central Government thinking on the subject, this Government plans to switch over to Value Added Tax in consultation with all stakeholders. The Sales Tax collections in the year 2003-04 stood at Rs. 4433.86 crores registering an increase of 14% over the collections for the year 2002-03.
        The Government plans to modernise health services both in primary health centres and in super specialty hospitals for the benefit of the common man. It has added 597 new beds in 2003-04 and plans to add over 1000 beds this year. The Government shall start indoor services in the 650 bedded Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital at Tahirpur; in the 200 bedded Paediatric Super Specialty Hospital at Geeta Colony; in the 200 bedded Hospital at Shastri Park and in the 100 bedded Hospital at Motinagar. Diagnosis of ailments would now be more accurate with the installation of 1000 MA Digital X-Ray Machine at GB Pant Hospital. More such machines would be purchased for other hospitals. Cancer patients would now find our Oncology Centre at GTB Hospital fully functional with the installation of Linear Accelerator by August this year. Work on setting up the 100 bedded Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences at Vasant Kunj is in progress. Work on construction of the 500 bedded hospital at Dwarka; the Institute of ISM and Multi-therapy Center at Khera Dabar; and the 64 bedded Maternity and Child Hospital at Nasirpur would begin this year. A Centralised facility for disposal of bio-medical waste is being set up in Gazipur.
        The Government plans to expand the education network to bring into its fold about 1 lakh out of school children this year under the Universalisation of Elementary Education Mission. 45 new books were brought out by the Government in a record time after NCERT withdrew its copyrights to books published by it. This allowed students to continue with their classroom studies without any interruption. These books have been well received. Computer education is being provided in 430 government and government aided schools and the remaining schools are likely to be covered this year. The issue of admissions and grant of freeships to the children of weaker sections of society in private schools has been taken up. The Government has also computerised administrative functions in the department leading to transparency and accountability in the internal working of the department. Under ‘Bhagidari’: the Citizen Government Partnership the Education department is successfully running 630 Vidyalaya Kalyan Samitis in nearly all Government schools with the involvement of the local community. The sectors of Vocational, Technical and Higher Education are being given their due emphasis.
        My Government is committed to carry on development work with a human face. It has introduced “Jan Shree Bima Yojna” to provide social security to the poor. Four lakh families below poverty line are going to be beneficiaries of this scheme. The Government has also the welfare of women close to its heart. In the last year, it has held 50 Stree Shakti camps in different parts of Delhi. These camps have benefited 42000 women. Spacious, comfortable and modern chaupals are being set up for SC/ST communities. Under Integrated Development of rural villages Rs. 12 crores have been kept for construction of rural community assets such as construction of approach roads, cremation grounds, development of ponds and parks. The Rural Development Board is being reconstituted along the lines of the Trans-Yamuna Board which has successfully taken up issues concerning East Delhi.
        The Government proposes to bring out its State’s first Human Development Report. This report is being brought out in collaboration with UNDP and the Union Planning Commission. Experts and consultants in various sectors of governance are drafting the Report in consultation with the Government. The Report would attempt to highlight past and current levels of socio-economic and human development in the State. While doing so it shall also identify social sectors that need to be addressed by the Government for bringing about improvement in quality of life for people of Delhi.
       Encouraged by the support received from the people of Delhi, the Government plans to strengthen the ‘Bhagidari’ concept by forging more partnerships with citizen groups, increasing public-private interface and institutionalising the initiative. The Government has finalised a scheme for providing some basic funds for citizen groups for environment related and maintenance activities in their areas. A new initiative with the corporate sector for bringing in corporate funding and managerial skills to upgrade civic delivery systems and infrastructure is being worked out. My Government would like citizen groups to actively participate in programmes and projects that create community assets so that every rupee spent on them is not only accounted for but also spent for the purpose for which it was sanctioned. The Government shall continue to provide a transparent system of administration. The enabling provisions of the Right to Information will be further strengthened for the citizens. Moreover, it is our firm belief that a citizen’s first contact with a government agency must be pleasant. Creating comfortable and visibly pleasing ambience in and around public dealing government offices and departments can achieve this. My government attaches highest priority to probity in all public transactions. Anti-corruption machinery would be strengthened and those found guilty of corrupt practices would be dealt with a heavy hand. It shall attempt to strengthen Citizens’ Charter by incorporating service level guarantees in them. This will ensure that departments provide a satisfactory level of service to people on pain of possible penalties.
        My Government does not believe in using the term “E-governance” as a punch line. It shall develop software applications that would help citizens to transact business with it on the Internet. Networking of departments through Wide Area Network would be carried out. This will enable sharing of information across networks. Applications designed to monitor action plan received from Departments would be used to prevent time and cost overruns in completion of projects. The Government has also decided to adopt the concept of Citizen’s Service Bureaus and introduce a single window system for almost all services in the city like payment of power, water, telephone bills, property tax, bus passes, property & marriage registration, etc. This will help in reducing corruption and undue harassment of the common citizen.
        I would like to conclude by coming back to the vision of my Government. A vision of making Delhi a world-class city. A city is a world- class city not only because its physical infrastructure is of world class. Nor because its administrators are of world class. It gets that status from the unshakable belief of its stakeholders – the people that their future and the future of their children is inextricably linked with the well-being of the city they inhabit. It gets that status because the people of that city are city-proud. This is only possible when infrastructure reforms, growth and development translate into an improved quality of life for the people of Delhi. My Government is committed to this task and aims at turning Delhi into a city where every resident has a sense of ‘owning’ the city and an opportunity to contribute towards making Delhi a clean, green and modern city.
        I have broadly outlined the important policies and programmes as also the thrust areas identified by my Government for implementation. The Finance Minister will spell out the details in his Budget speech. I am sure that with the help and cooperation of the members of this august House, supported by the hard work of the officers and staff and the Bhagidari with our citizen groups, the programmes of the Government will see expeditious implementation.
        I wish you all success in your deliberations and hope that they will be productive and help in generating new ideas for betterment of this historic city.