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Delhi In A Financial Crunch – Here’s What Manish Sisodia Plans For The Budget

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The devolution of financial power by New Delhi — the seat of India’s central government — continues to roil the states with the provincial government of Delhi rebelling, and saying that it would lose Rs. 25,000 crore ($4 billion) over a decade.

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In the course of presenting an interim budget last week, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia complained that since India’s capital is a union territory, it would not be able to cash in on the recommendations by the 14th Finance Commission to increase central taxes to states from 32% to 42%.

“Had this recommendation been applied to Delhi, then Delhi would have received approximately Rs. 25,000 crore during the award period (2015-2020),” said Sisodia, whose budget reveals his efforts to cobble together funds for electricity and water subsidies, which he intends to boost by 381% over a year.

A warning hinting at Delhi’s already troubled finances came when hundreds of unpaid municipal sweepers dumped garbage on the roads last week.

“We don’t have funds,” B.B. Tyagi, chairman of the standing committee of East Corporation (Delhi has three municipal corporations, all run by the Bharatiya Janata Party). “Not only sanitation workers, even officials have not been paid for months.”

IndiaSpend has reported how Tamil Nadu, India’s leading welfare state, rebelled against the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

These stands contrast with that taken by Jammu & Kashmir, where Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said he would not go “begging” to Delhi for funds, as reported earlier.

Sisodia also argued that tax-sharing laws were detrimental to Delhi’s services-dependent economy.

“Delhi’s economy has a predominant service sector with a share of 87.48% of GSDP (Gross state domestic product), followed by industry and agriculture sectors,” said Sisodia. “The contribution of Delhi in service tax, income tax, corporate tax and custom & central excise is very significant compared to other metropolitan cities. In spite of that, Delhi’s share in central taxes remains stagnant at Rs. 325 crore since 2001-02.”

Budget documents confirm the minister’s point: The national capital’s grant in lieu of a share in central taxes has indeed remained constant at Rs. 325 crore.

As in Tamil Nadu, new subsidies do not help balance the budget.

The implementation of two key election promises of Sisodia’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — a 50% reduction in power bills and 20,000 litres of free water per month — is expected to cost Rs. 351 crore in 2014-15.

Yet, the minister proposed to reduce spending for 2014-15 by 5%, from Rs. 36,766 crore to Rs 34,790 crore.

This year, financial prudence. Next year, not quite

Plan expenditure – used to create assets and invest in infrastructure – will drop to Rs. 15,450 crore (from the budget estimate of Rs. 16,700 crore); non-plan expenditure – mainly used to pay for the water and power subsidies, interest, salaries, and other routine bills used to run the government – to Rs. 18,440 crore (from Rs. 19,066 crore); and centrally-sponsored schemes – such as the National Health Mission and the Universal Education Scheme – to Rs. 900 crore (from Rs. 1,000 crore).

For 2015-16, Sisodia has proposed an 8% increase in spending, taking the budget estimate to Rs. 37,750 crore.

Next year’s budget includes an increase of 16.5% in non-plan expenditure to Rs. 21,500 crore, which means continuing subsidies and government spending on itself; Rs. 15,350 crore plan expenditure (reduction of 1%); and Rs. 900 crore for centrally sponsored schemes (no change).

Source: Delhi Budget
Source: Delhi Budget

The major jump in non-plan expenditure is likely to be the subsidy for power and water, from Rs. 351 crore in the revised estimates for 2014-15 to Rs. 1,690 crore for next year, a 381% rise.

This land is my land. No, it is mine.

Given the number of overlapping authorities, some controlled by central government departments, others by local government, land is another bone of contention between Delhi and New Delhi.

Money spent to buy land from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), run by the Union government, could be spent on development of the city’s infrastructure, Sisodia said in his speech.

“It is highly desired that land should be made available to the city government free of cost for infrastructure development,” he said. “The huge resources accumulated with DDA must be shared for the development of the city. (The) state government has no direct role in the city planning made by DDA. A metropolitan planning body is required for the comprehensive development of the city, which will also address the specific issues of development of social and physical infrastructure for unplanned settlements, unauthorised colonies and rural areas of Delhi.”

The minister promised a full budget and to “work in complete partnership with the common man for (sic) addressing their issues . . . and for preparation of future plans”.

This post was originally published by IndiaSpend.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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