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Delhi budget focus is on roti shiksha and swasthya Eye on the votes: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Her sights firmly fixed on next year's assembly elections, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit unveiled a budget on Monday that had populism written all over it. And rather than the classes, she appeared to be eyeing the masses which had turned out in large numbers to vote against the Congress in the recent MCD polls. She seemed to have her finger on the electorate's pulse as VAT on the hiked component of the price of petrol was slashed by 20 per cent to make the fuel Rs 1.26 cheaper in the Capital. Petrol will now cost Rs 71.92 per litre, instead of the Rs 73.18 Delhiites were shelling out for it after the sharp Rs 7.50 spike last week. But, in one of the few twists in the sop story, the Delhi government proposed a fresh 5 per cent VAT on CNG. This drove up the green fuel's price from Rs 35.45 to Rs 37.22 per kg and may trigger a demand for a hike in bus, taxi and auto fares besides having an impact on the transportation cost of goods. 'I have deeply considered the matter (petrol price hike) and am of the view that the citizens of Delhi need to be provided some relief,' the CM said, presenting the Rs 33,436-crore Delhi budget for 2012-13 in the assembly. She justified that additional levy on CNG by saying: 'Most of the government-owned public transport is run on CNG and hence it will not affect the common man.' If successive Dikshit dispensations had ridden to power by first raising the roti-kapda-makaan (food-clothing-shelter) and then the bijli-sadak-paani (electricity- roads-water)slogans, the new clarion call given by the CM after being at the helm in the Capital for three consecutive terms was roti, shiksha, swasthya (food, education, health). Consequently, a huge impetus was provided to social sector spending. Of the total proposed plan budget outlay of Rs 15,000 crore, an overwhelming 65 percent - amounting to Rs 9796 - was allocated to social services. Importantly, 94 per cent of the budget component would be self-generated by the Delhi government and only 6 per cent of the funds will be sought from the Centre. In a first for any part of the country, the CM reached out to 2 lakh 'vulnerable households', announcing a direct cash transfer of Rs 600 per month to the senior- most female member of the family under a new programme called Dilli Annashree Scheme. It would target families not covered by either BPL cards or other food supply schemes. Though Dikshit allocated Rs 150 crore to the programme, she didn't spell out what criteria would entitle a household to be clubbed in the 'vulnerable' category. To make Delhi the first kerosene-free state in the country, she said her government planned to provide a one-time cash subsidy of Rs 2,000 to about 1.75 lakh households for obtaining an LPG connection and purchasing a gas stove. An outlay of Rs 40 crore was proposed for the scheme. Dikshit, toned down after the April 15 MCD elections drubbing, said: 'This is a socially oriented budget, especially when it comes to food (inflation). Professional courses on offer under the scheme will pertain to nursing as well as technicians for physiotherapy, medical labs and radio labs. To be sure, literacy levels have steadily risen in the Capital. While the figure stood at 75 per cent in 1991, it increased to 81 per cent in 2001 and 86 per cent a decade later. Sops were doled out in the medical and public health sector, too. It received 14.16 per cent (Rs 2124 crore) of the planned outlay, 16.6 percent higher than last year. Dikshit proposed the expansion of the eligibility criteria of EWS families to its Delhi Arogya Kosh, from those with an annual income of Rs 1 lakh to households earning Rs 2 lakh. This was expected to more than double the number of families eligible for free specialised treatment of life-threatening diseases. Furthermore, the CM promised a monthly stipend of Rs 1000 for poor patients suffering from HIV/ AIDS and Rs 2050 per month for orphaned children affected by the disease. In the public sector, the government said it would construct six new 200-bed hospitals, one new 100-bed health centre and a 750- bed hospital-cum-medical college. The CM, who was repeatedly interrupted during her budget address by the Opposition BJP's MLAs, said: 'If required, the amount will be suitably enhanced for development work in these colonies.' Individually, the transport sector received the maximum plan outlay at Rs 3,372 crore that comprised 22.48 per cent of the total. Here again the government planned to spend the most on the introduction of Delhi's first mono rail in east Delhi, where it received a shock defeat in the trifurcated MCD polls. The money would also be utilised to purchase 600 new low-floor buses. Predictably, Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta and the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, slammed the budget. 'There is no relief for the people because petrol will still cost us Rs 6.30, which is higher than the earlier price,' Malhotra said.