New Delhi: Following the party guidelines to the state governments to reduce state taxes on Petrol, Delhi government on Monday evening announced to reduce Value Added Tax on petrol leading to a reduction of Rs 1.26 in the national capital. The announcement of this effect was made by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the state Assembly.

Petrol will cost Rs 1.26 less in the capital with Delhi government slashing 20 percent VAT on the hiked component in its budget which also provided a huge push to social sector spending to apparently win over sections disgruntled with Congress as it prepares for next year's Assembly polls.

However, the slash in petrol prices may not give the much needed relief to common man as Delhi government proposed a fresh five percent VAT on CNG, which is used by a number of people in the city for running their vehicles.

Petrol will now cost Rs 71.92 after the cut. After the increase last week, Delhiites used to pay Rs 73.18.

The CNG price will see an increase from Rs 35.45 per kg following the five percent hike in VAT.

"The price of petrol in Delhi is the lowest among all the metro cities and lower compared to the price in neighbouring cities of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh also. I have deeply considered the matter and of the view that the citizens of Delhi need to be provided some relief.

"Honourable members will recall earlier too we have given relief to the people when there was an increase in the price of diesel by exempting vat on the increased component.  Similarly, I propose to exempt the recently announced increase in the price of petrol from the levy of 20 percent of VAT," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said presenting the budget for 2012-13.

Social sector has the highest allocation in the Rs 33,436 crore budget, the second since Dikshit has been handling the finance portfolio. Tax collection pegged at Rs 26,150 crore.

The plan allocation is Rs 15,000 crore and the non-plan allocation pegged at Rs 18,268 crore. The budget has a heavy dose of populist measures and is seen as a bid to regain the Congress' support base for the assembly elections in the wake of the party's crushing defeat in the municipal polls.

The previous budget's size was Rs 27,067 crore with a plan outlay of Rs 13,600 crore and a non-plan expenditure of Rs 13,307 crore.

This year's budget presentation was delayed due to coming into force of election code of conduct for municipal polls.

The government had presented a vote-on-account for expenses for two months due to Model Code. In the vote-on-account, Dikshit had pegged the total budget at Rs 30,970 crore.

The education sector has been allocated Rs 1,901 crore and water and sanitation sector Rs 1,800 crore. Another Rs 631 crore has been earmarked for development activities in unauthorised colonies.

"If required, the amount will be suitably enhanced for development work in unauthorised colonies. It will not suffer due to lack of funds or want of funds," Dikshit said. The Delhi government issued provisional regularization certificates (PRCs) to over 1,200 unauthorised colonies ahead of assembly polls in 2008. The then Dikshit government, while distributing the certificates, had promised to regularise the colonies if Congress came to power for third term.

Dikshit said her government looks forward to Delhi emerging as a caring city where citizens proudly aspire to and secure a future for themselves and their children.

"We will continue to look more intensely at the education, health and financial needs of the weaker sections. We would like to see Delhi developing into a good city to live in and a city that caters to the needs of all sections of the society," she said.

The Chief Minister said the government will pay special attention to qualitative improvements of the vastly upgraded physical infrastructure and expansions of the roads, power, metro and water networks.

"The 12th plan period should see the city fulfilling the needs of the productive and creative citizenry. We shall be looking to the training, skill upgrading, and financing needs of the youth of Delhi... the underpinning principles of our vision for Delhi in the new Five Year Plan is of a good, productive and caring city," Dikshit said.

The government also set aside Rs 2,500 crore for making 20 km of the Outer Ring road between Wajirabad and Vikaspuri signal-free.

In what could bring some relief to HIV/AIDS patients, Dikshit announced a Rs 1,000 assistance per month to poor people suffering from this disease for anti-retroviral treatment.

"Orphaned children infected with HIV/AIDS will be given Rs 2,050 per month and those affected by HIV/AIDS with Rs 1,750 per month," she said.

On the education front, the chief minister said the Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology for Women will be upgraded to a university.
She said the student intake of Delhi Institute of Hotel Management will be doubled from 60 to 120.

In a bid to make Delhi the "first kerosene free state" in the country, she said her government plans to provide a one-time cash subsidy of Rs 2,000 to about 1.75 lakh households for obtaining an LPG connection and purchase of a gas stove.



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