The Third Delhi Legislative Assembly

(Budget Session)

21st MARCH, 2007

            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 2007.
2. We have taken a pledge to make Delhi a world-class city. We have got an opportunity to realize this pledge by keeping in our horizon the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, 2010. However, Commonwealth Games is but a step, though an important one, on this journey. I believe that effort will continue beyond that. I will now detail my Government’s efforts in this direction.
3. The Government’s prudent fiscal policy has placed us on a sound financial footing with buoyant tax collections, which are likely to be Rs. 11,454 crores this year against Rs. 10,338 crores in 2005-2006. We continue to be revenue surplus. This has enabled us to increase our Plan outlay from Rs. 5200 crores in the current financial year to Rs. 9000 crores in 2007-08, an unprecedented increase of 73%. This is both an opportunity as well as a challenge for us to upscale the infrastructure and translate the growth and development of Delhi into an improved quality of life for its people. As 58 percent of our plan outlay is spent on the social sector, priorities of my government clearly lie in effectively managing the sectors of Health, Education and Social Welfare for the common citizens and the marginalized sections of our society; the poor; the aged, the women, the children, the underprivileged; and the differently abled.
4. In the Health sector, we have launched the Delhi Health Mission to bridge gaps in health care delivery and ensure affordable accountable and reliable primary health care services to every citizen. Equal emphasis has been laid on setting up, strengthening and expansion of multi disciplinary hospitals to make secondary and tertiary healthcare accessible to common man. 31 hospitals have been operationalized while five Super Speciality Hospitals and 10 other hospitals are under different stages of construction/commissioning. Several major hospitals are being upgraded. Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences and Delhi State Cancer Institute have been given autonomy to help them evolve into “Centres of Excellence”. Institute of Indian System of Medicine is being set up at Khera Dabur.
5. ‘Quality education’ supported by complementary infrastructure has been the professed goal of the Government. Enrolment in government schools at primary/pre-primary levels has increased from 8 Lakhs in 1997-1998 to 11.38 Lakhs in 2006-2007, an increase of 42%. The pass percentage in Class tenth in government schools has improved from 32% in 1997-1998 to 60% last year, while in the case of Class XII, the pass percentage has improved in the corresponding period from 63% to 78%. Drop out rate at primary level has come down to 5.9% in 2005-06. My government has promoted education for girls in a big way by providing free education, free text books, uniform subsidy and stipend up to class XII. Setting up of over 600 Vidyalaya Kalyan Samities in the Government Schools under the Bhagidari initiative has improved day-to-day maintenance of schools and has had a salutary effect on academics as well. Access to Higher Education is sought to be enchanced with construction of the twin campuses of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha Univerity at Dwarka and Surajmal Vihar. The University has grown steadily with 73 self financing institutions and 12 Government institutes with intake of more than 10,000 students. Dr. Ambedkar University is being set up for providing opportunity of higher education, especially to the people of remote and rural areas of Delhi. Work on the construction of the East Delhi Engineering College at Geeta Colony for Rs. 20.48 Crores is in full swing. Work has also started for setting up of an integrated institute of technology at Dwarka at a cost of Rs. 20.4 Crores. Three Polytechnics/it is are being upgraded into engineering colleges.
6. The Government has continuously worked towards augmenting social security systems through financial assistance, vocational training, soft loans and targeted programs. New state policy for senior citizens was launched on October 5, 2006. Old age pension has been enhanced to Rs. 400 per month benefiting 1.62 lakh senior citizens. Construction work has commenced for the Old Age Homes at Bindapur, Rohini and Dwarka. A new scheme of Unemployment Allowance for Disabled has also been operationalized this year. In view of declining sex ratio, a new “Girl Child Protection Scheme” has been started under which Rs 5000/- is deposited in the name of new born girl child, in government hospital, which will be given to her with interest on completion of 18 years of age or after passing class 10th. The 29th ICDS Project has become operational at Madanpur Khader with opening of 60 New Anganwadi Centres. Additional 526 Anganwadi Centres have been sanctioned under various ICDS Projects. Honorarium for the Anganwari Workers has been enhanced from Rs 1000 per month to Rs 1500 per month and that for Anganwari Helper from Rs 500 to Rs 750 per month. Community participation in supplementary nutrition program under ICDS has been enlisted through women self help groups. ‘Stree Shakti’ initiative of the government to empower women of economically weaker sections by providing them access to health care, vocational training, nutritional and legal guidance has won the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Innovation Award 2006 for ‘Citizen Engagement and Service Delivery’. 490 Stree Shakti camps have been organized so far benefiting more than 3 lakh women. Eighteen Gender Resource Centres have been established for holistic empowerment of women in a sustained manner. These centres function as single window counter for facilitation and counseling of women besides providing multiple services.
7. Providing affordable, quality houses to the slum dwellers, industrial workers and other Economically weaker sections of the society has been the cherished goal of the government. DSIIDC has already constructed and allotted 3164 low costs houses to industrial workers under Rajiv Gandhi Housing Project and construction of 4000 more such houses is in full swing. This initiative has won the National Award for Housing for Economically Weaker Sections as well as the “Building Industry Leadership Award”. The DSIIDC has been designated as the nodal agency for construction of another 30,000 houses for industrial workers and 50,000 houses for the slum dwellers/ economically weaker sections of society. Construction of these houses is to be completed within 18 months. A new Plan Scheme named “Financial Assistance to Multi Purpose Cooperative Societies for Slum dwellers for improvement, up gradation and resettlement of JJ Clusters” has been launched and four cooperative societies of slum dwellers have been registered for taking up housing projects and other activities.
8. The government has been working tirelessly for the welfare and development of SC/ST/OBC/ Minorities communities. To look after the welfare of Safai Karamcharies, the Delhi Commission for Safai Karamcharis has been set up through a legislation. Chairperson and Members of the commission have been appointed. Guidelines for the scheme for development of SC/ST basties have been liberalized and simplified. Guidelines for issue of SC/ST certificates have been liberalized benefiting lakhs of people.
9. Inflation acts as a hidden tax on the poor. The Government took several initiatives to check inflation and ensure timely and uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to beneficiaries, especially the weaker sections of society. The government has taken the pioneering initiative of providing 4 kilograms of “Dal” per month through the public Distribution System to BPL, AAY and Jhuggi Ration holders at rates 25% below the market price. The step besides having impact on rising prices will provide the much needed nutrition support to these beneficiaries Outlets to supply vegetables at subsidized rates were also opened throughout the city from time to time to curb inflationary tendencies. In a similar endeavor in July 2006, when price of pulses crossed Rs 50 per Kg mark, the Delhi Civil Supplies Corporation successfully carried out a special operation of selling pulses @ Rs 38 per KG through 73 mobile vans.
10. Governance in Delhi is not simple. Being home to both the Central as well as the State Government, there are overlapping jurisdictions and multiple authorities. We have found a way out of this impasse through the Bhagidari approach to governance, which continues to be an article of unshakable faith with my government as well as its main guiding principle for the coming years. The number of citizen groups associated with the initiative has swellep up to over 1900. We have taken Bhagidari to the poorest of the poor living in slum and JJ cluster through a new initiative launched this year. ‘My Delhi-I Care’ Fund operationalised this year with the nine Deputy Commissioners has emerged as an effective tool in the hands of citizens for taking up development works in the colonies based on their felt needs under their watchful eyes. In another Bhagidari initiative, Takniki Shiksha Sansthan Kalyan Samitis (Tassks) are being constituted in all our Polytechnics /it is to make the Industry and the local people active Bhagidars in making these institutions centres of excellence.
11. In our continuing endeavour to make the city a safer and more secure place, we became the first city-state to bring out our Human Development Report. Besides enumerating the problems, assessing the progress and achievements, the report shows the way to move forward. A clear set of Delhi Development Goals have been spelt out in the report. We have initiated action on the findings and recommendations of the Report. Another endeavour in our quest for transparency, people’s participation in governance and provide a responsive government is Social Audit of government services through an independent organization, Public Affairs Foundation, Bangalore. The report clearly highlights that services across the board have improved, It also reveals a significant potential for improving the services further. The Government is acting upon the diagnostic pointers as indicated in the report to ensure effective delivery of services.
12. Transparency and openness have been facilitated through our steadfast initiatives in E-Governance. All Deputy Commissioners’ offices along with the Land & Building department and the Education department have been connected with Delhi Secretariat through high-speed broadband connectivity. IT department has initiated the process of setting up a “Citizen Relationship and Grievance Management System” which will work as a call center for providing information on various services offered by Government and its schemes. A pilot project for developing ten WI-FI hot spot areas in Connaught Place to provide free Internet access has also been initiated. E- Procurements made by the government. An ambitious “Delhi Online” project has also been taken up which will serve as gateway for one stop shop for all G2C and G2B interactions. During the year 2006-2007 the government won several awards for its IT initiatives, including the Golden Icon Award for excellence in government process re-engineering at the 10th National Conference 2007 on e-Governance for the Education Department’s Online Student Management System. Delhi has also been declared as the ‘Best e-governed State in the northern region’ in 2006 by the Dataquest magazine.
13. Coming to the infrastructure sectors, it will be five years in June 2007 since power sector reforms were initiated. A review of this experience indicates that the distribution infrastructure has shown substantial improvement and yielded positive results. AT & C losses have been reduced from 50% to 35% and are poised to reduce further. Since a reduction of one percentage point in AT&C losses results in a savings of about Rs. 80 crores, the cumulative savings on this account have been about Rs 3600 crores. Initiatives like setting up of Special Courts, deployment of CISF to curb power theft are likely to help in achieving the national target of AT & C loss reduction to 15% by the end of the 11th Plan. Considering the general dissatisfaction of the consumers with the grievance redressed system of DISCOMs, a Public Grievance Cell has been opened headed by a retired Judge of Delhi High Court and a Technical Member which has started functioning from 29th January, 2007 and has been regularly interacting with consumers, Resident Welfare Associations as well as Companies to address various issues pertaining to consumer satisfaction in the electricity sector. The government would strive for a higher level of consumer satisfaction through technology improvements and better interface between distribution companies and the consumers.
14. Our Government is committed to making Delhi power surplus. Towards this end, several significant steps have been taken. Power purchase agreements has been signed with the Damodar Valley Corporation for 2500 MW and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation for 800 MW. A joint venture company with Delhi, Haryana and NTPC named the Aravali Power Company has been formed which is setting up a 1500 MW power plant in Jhajjar of which 750 MW would be dedicated for Delhi. Generation capacity of Badarpur NTPC station is being increased by 980 MW. Power Plant dedicated to meet power requirement of Delhi is being set up by NTPC at Dadri to provide 980 MW of power to the city. To reduce our dependence on external power plants, arrangementgs are being made to set up 2000 MW gas based power generation capacity in Delhi for which an MoU has been signed with M/s Petronet to finalise the supply and purchase agreement for gas in the next couple of months. For meeting the short term requirement of power, Madhya Pradesh Government has already agreed to provide 500 MW round the clock power during July-September and 200 MW during winter months (morning peak) on exchange basis for 5 hours daily. Similar arrangements are also being worked out with Damodar Valley Corporation (500 MW), Himachal Pradesh (500 MW) and West Bengal (600 MW). Measures for better demand management have also been initiated by ordering mandatory use of CFL lamps, subsidy on istallation of solar water heater in domestic sector, making solar water heating systems mandatory in buildings constructed on plots of more than 500 sq mtr size and so on.
15. A significant achievement in the last year has been the commissioning of the 140 MGD Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant. It has augmented the water supply from 675 MGD to 815 MGD and benefited about 40 lakh people. Work on construction of water recycling plants at Bhagirathi, Haiderpur and Wazirabad has commenced which on completion will yield 38 MGD additional water. We are also pursuing with the Union Government and concerned state governments for early completion of Renuka, Keshau and Lakhar Vyasi projects in upper reaches of Himalayas. Efforts for supply of adequate water to each citizen are also being made through effective prevention and management of leakages, rationalization of water supply, promoting water conservation and rain water harvesting.
16. Our efforts to create an integrated multi-modal public transport system in the city have gained momentum. Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DIMMTS) has been set up for taking comprehensive planning and development of multi modal transport system in the city. The Phase-I of Delhi metro, comprising 66.11 Km lengths has been fully commissioned. Work on 9 corridors in Phase-II has commenced. High Speed Express Metro Link from New Delhi railway Station to IGI Airport is also planned. Work on 1st corridor of High Capacity Bus System is in full swing. Studies for other corridors are underway. Tenders for purchase of 625 modern low floor CNG city buses have been finalized. An aesthetically designed urban cape with appropriate street furniture and signage to cater both to utility and ambience is being planned. Process to construct 225 modern, aesthetic and sleek Bus Queue Shelters by DTC has commenced. DTC is recruiting 2485 new drivers to improve bus services across the city. Construction of eight-lane signature bridge over river Yamuna and a tourist destination at Wazirabad at a cost of Rs 464 crores has commenced. Bridge over river Yamuna at Geeta colony, Master Plan Road over disused canal from Geeta Colony to Karkardooma, NH-2 Bye Pass from Maharani Bagh to Kalindi Kunj, several under passes, foot over bridges with escalators and flyovers will be completed in the next one year.
17. A scheme of conversion of industrial plots from lease hold to free hold has been launched. More than 22,000 factory owners, who were found eligible for alternative allotment under the scheme of relocation, have already been allotted plots/alternative flats. Two more areas of industrial concentration were notified for in-situ development this year. A bio-diversity park is being developed over an area of 35.9 acres in Bawana. A Gems and Jewellary Fashion Hub is being set up at Baprola.
18 The Government is committed to having a Green and Clean Delhi. Forest and tree cover has increased in the city from 10.2% in 2001 to 18.07% in 2003. There has been a marked improvement in the quality of air over the years. In the year 2006-07, nearly 3 lakh saplings were planted and 6.60 lakh saplings were distributed free till January this year through educational institutions, RWAs, individuals, Mother Dairy booths and petrol pumps, etc. Delhi is proudto be a city with the largest number of vehicles running on CNG. Construction of Green Buildings will be encouraged and we are pursuing the concept of Green Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. The Government of Delhi is also committed to bring about a cleaner River Yamuna under the Yamuna Action Plan Phase-II. Delhi Jal Board is working on an innovative concept of interceptor sewers to reduce pollution load in the river.
19. The Master Plan for 2021 was notified on 7th February 2007. The suggestions given by the Members of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha have contributed towards formulation of this Plan, which sets out a new direction, taking into account the socio-economic aspirations of the growing population of citizens, including the large number of migrants mainly from the economically weaker sections of society, integrating effective need for optimal utilization of land. Land being a scarce and limited commodity in Delhi, the economics of providing shelter, commercial space, civic amenities, education and health facilities and recreational areas, with the need to preserve the architectural heritage and the natural environment is a daunting task. The role of informal service providers, small enterprises and the unorganized sector in the economy has also been recognized. All these challenges have been integrated quite comprehensively into the Master Plan 2021.
20. The broad policies and programmes mentioned above highlight only some of the initiatives which have been contributing towards fulfillment of our aspirations to make Delhi a much better city reflecting its glorious past, dynamic present and bright future. I hope the deliberations in the House will provide us with guidance and strength, so that we can fulfill our commitment to serve the Delhi and its people better.
JAI Hind!!