Governance: Delhi's ₹76,000 Crore Budget Falls Short in Addressing Marginalized Communities' Needs

The 2024-25 budget allocates ₹6,216 crore for social welfare, emphasizing unauthorized colony development with ₹902 crores. Initiatives include infrastructure enhancements such as drainage, water lines, and 5175 kilometres of roads in 1355 areas.
Activists claim the Delhi government is still unable to provide the sanitation workers a liveable wage.
Activists claim the Delhi government is still unable to provide the sanitation workers a liveable wage.

New Delhi- On 4th February, the Delhi government revealed the budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, featuring a comprehensive allocation of ₹76,000 crore. This reflected a 1.47% increase compared to the Revised Estimates of ₹74,900 crore for the year 2023-24. In the budget, apart from welfare schemes, there was no mention of the marginalised OBC/SC/St sections of the community.

A sum of ₹6,216 crore has been assigned for diverse programs within the social welfare department, women and child development department, as well as the SC/ST/OBC welfare department.

"Unauthorized colonies" in Delhi exhibit a significant population density of Poorvanchalis, Muslims, and migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with a substantial number belonging to Dalit and Bahujan communities.

The budget outlines initiatives such as expanding drainage and water lines in these colonies, as well as the construction of 5175 kilometres of roads across 1355 such areas. An allocation of ₹902 crores has been earmarked in the fiscal year 2024-25 budget for the development of unauthorized colonies.

The Delhi government under the leadership of AAP has achieved significant milestones in the implementation of Mohalla Clinics, which has made healthcare accessible to different communities. With 530 clinics operational in the city, these facilities cater to 64,000 individuals daily, offering complementary medicines, tests, and treatment.

The press statement highlighted a budget proposal of ₹212 crores for the fiscal year 2024-25, ensuring the continued provision of outstanding medical services to the residents of Delhi through the Mohalla Clinics.

A novel initiative, the "Mukyamantri Mahila Samman Yojna," is being introduced to promote the well-being and empowerment of women starting from the year 2024-25.

Within the framework of this scheme, women aged 18 and above will qualify to receive a monthly amount of ₹1000, excluding those presently enrolled in any government pension program, employed by the government, or paying income tax.

A budget of ₹2000 crore is recommended for the implementation of this scheme in the fiscal year 2024-25.

The Mooknayak spoke to Ashok Kumar Taank, who is the joint secretary of Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM).

Activists claim the Delhi government is still unable to provide the sanitation workers a liveable wage.
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“If the government actually cares about the welfare of the marginalised groups, they should have thought and brought in budget for the sanitation workers,” claimed Ashok.

The Joint secretary remarked that the Delhi government is still unable to provide the workers a liveable wage.

“Sanitation workers put their resources on stake to provide for the city. Yet, they do not receive provident fund, insurance, or a proper wage. What is the use of such a budget that is unable to provide them dignity?” asked the activist.

Sanitation workers in the city are primarily from Valmiki and Jatav castes who belong to the Dalit community. They have been protesting on and off for their demand to have a respectful livelihood. Many do not receive payments in time nor are treated in a professional manner.

The workers are hired on a contractual basis, leading to frequent abuse and irregular employment.

The Mooknayak had reported on the strike by sanitation workers in Burari Government Hospital who were accusing their employers of not providing salary on time and then denying hiring them just because they were out protesting for their rights.

Other Key Highlights of Delhi Budget 2024-2025:

For the financial year 2024-25, the Delhi government has allocated ₹9,800 crore towards housing and urban development schemes. This encompasses ₹902 crore for unauthorized colonies, ₹400 crore for the MLALAD (Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development) scheme, and ₹275 crore for both the Mukhya Mantri Sadak Punarnirman Yojana and Mukhya Mantri Street Light scheme.

The budget for civic bodies has been raised to ₹8,423 crore, marking an increase from ₹8,241 crore in the previous fiscal year.

A substantial amount of ₹16,396 crore has been set aside for the education sector, with ₹1,213 crore specifically dedicated to higher and technical education.

The health sector receives an allocation of ₹8,685 crore, covering ₹6,215 crore for hospitals, ₹212 crore for mohalla clinics, ₹658 crore for free medicines, ₹400 crore for new infrastructure, ₹80 crore for Delhi Arogya Kosh, ₹194 crore for CATS Ambulance, and ₹916 crore for miscellaneous activities.

The Delhi Jal Board is allotted ₹7,195 crore, and public transport is allocated ₹5,702 crore, including ₹510 crore for electric buses, ₹340 crore for pink tickets, and ₹500 crore for the Delhi Metro.

Delhi's Finance Minister, Atishi, has mentioned that the national capital aims to have over 10,000 buses by the year 2025.

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