Wednesday January 16, 2019
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Swaraj Budget: AAP government allocates Rs.9,836 crore for the education sector

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New Delhi: The AAP government in Delhi on Thursday presented a Rs.41,129 crore budget for the 2015-16 fiscal for the national capital, earmarking Rs.9,836 crore for the education sector.

The allocation to education is 106 percent more than the previous fiscal’s total.

Health has received the second highest allocation of Rs.4,787 crore, followed by transport (Rs.5,085 crore), which is 23 percent more than the allocation of 2014-15.

A total of Rs.1,690 crore has been set aside for power and water subsidy, a key Aam Aadmi Party promise to the electorate.

The maiden full budget of the AAP government was presented by Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, who described it as the first “Swaraj budget” in the country.

In the previous year, when Delhi was under President’s Rule, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had presented a Rs.36,776 crore budget for the 2014-15 fiscal for Delhi.

Sisodia said the huge allocation for education showed the AAP government was serious in improving educational standards in the capital. (IANS)

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Smog In New Delhi Clears After Rain, AQI Remains ‘Very Poor’

Despite the pollution, there is little sign Delhi’s 20 million residents are taking steps to protect themselves.

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Smog, delhi
A man rides a motorcycle on a morning thick with smog on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Jan. 5, 2019. A Sunday morning rain improved the air quality to "very poor." VOA

A rainy spell early Sunday brought better air to residents of New Delhi, giving them a brief respite from thick gray smog that has shrouded the Indian capital for the last two months, although air quality continued to be “very poor.”

A measure of tiny, hazardous breathable particles known as PM 2.5 reached an average of 182 by 12 p.m., the Central Pollution Control Board said, its lowest since Nov. 4.

But the pollution level was still five times more than a U.S. government recommended level of 35 to stand at “unhealthy” levels, according to the U.S. embassy.

Problem not solved

“Change in weather conditions by rain or higher wind speed helps dissipate peak pollution, but we continue to need strong emergency actions such as shutting power plants,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of the Center for Science and Environment think-tank.

Delhi, air pollution, cold, smog
People take early morning walk amid smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. In the Indian capital, the air quality hovered between severe and very poor this week posing a serious health hazard for millions of people. VOA

The federal government air quality index rated Delhi’s air quality “very poor” Sunday and had a similar forecast for Monday, urging people with respiratory and cardiac problems to avoid polluted areas and limit outdoor movement.

A sharp drop in temperatures and wind speed over the last two weeks, combined with vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites and smoke from garbage burning has stoked pollution over much of north India.

Dangerous particles

Levels of PM 2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, hit their highest last year at 450Dec. 23.

Also Read:Toxic Air of Delhi Prompting People To Quit City

Despite the pollution, there is little sign Delhi’s 20 million residents are taking steps to protect themselves.

Activists say the apparent lack of concern gives politicians the cover they need for not tackling the issue adequately. (VOA)