No new tax in Delhi budget, power arrears waived

No new tax in Delhi budget, power arrears waived With an eye on poll, the Delhi Government today enhanced funds for various welfare schemes in the Budget 2008-09. Allocating Rs 273 crore for the sector, the Government has increased the pension amount given to senior citizens, widows and unemployed handicapped persons besides streamlining the different social welfare schemes. "We have enhanced the old age pension amount from Rs 400 to Rs 600 and for widows from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000 per month with effect from the coming fiscal year," Finance Minister A K Walia said while presenting the Budget in the Delhi Assembly. To ensure that maximum disabled get the benefit of its existing unemployment allowance, the government has done away with the present eligibility condition of employment exchange registration of two years for the beneficiaries. The monthly allowance for the disabled has also been increased from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000. Under the Budget, the subsidy given to school students of the government schools as well as those from the weaker sections in private schools for uniform has been increased from Rs 300 to Rs 500 per annum. Another major initiative is for providing free Braille books to all the visually handicapped students. Streamlining the functioning of different schemes of social welfare, the government has redefined the income limit by increasing it to Rs 60,000 per annum. However, education schemes and those pertaining to the SC/ST welfare would have an income limit of Rs one lakh per annum," Walia said. The Delhi Government's share in the honorarium given to Anganwadi workers has been doubled from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 and they will now get a monthly payment of Rs 2,500 of which Rs 1,500 would be shared by the central government. Under the mid-day meal schemes in which children are given free lunch, Delhi government's share has been increased from Re one to Rs three per child, taking the total expenditure on every child under the scheme in the capital to Rs four. The Centre's share is Re one. The Government has already launched a programme to make Delhi hunger free through its scheme Apki Rasoi wherein one time afternoon meal will be provided to the needy at specified shelter locations, Walia said.

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