Leader of the House in the BJP-led South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Shikha Rai, finalised the estimated SDMC budget for 2018-19, and rejected the new tax and hike in the property tax proposed in the Commissioner's budget in December.
The budget was cleared in a special session of the SDMC House chaired by Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat. The decisions approved will come into effect after formal approval by the municipal commissioner.
"Martyrs belonging to the armed forces and the para- military forces and their widows; medal winners in Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will get full exemption on payment of property tax for one residential property," the SDMC said.
"Ex-servicemen are to get 30 per cent rebate, on lumpsum payment of property tax, up to June 30, for one residential property," it said.
Shikha Rai later interacting with reporters, acknowledged that there was still a lot of taboo attached to menstrual hygiene, and "many girls skip schools during menstruation".
"So, we have decided to give sanitary pads to girls in schools, when they need it. We have also sensitised our teachers about it," she said.
The budget has also accepted one of the suggestions made by BJP's Malviya Nagar councillor Nandini Sharma, to offer wood shavings for use in the funeral pyre, to the poor at no cost.
"The wood left from pruning of trees and plants will be given to the poor for free for cremation. So, the department concerned would coordinate with the horticulture department in future," she said in her budget speech.
Incidentally, the Opposition AAP heckled her multiple times, saying, many of the announcements made by Shikha Rai, including on the matter of all 104 wards of SDMC becoming open defecation-free, were "mere claims" and "existed on papers only".
Also, a "glaring mistake" in the printed budget speech, on the subject of the recent proposal of the DDA to increase FAR (floor area ratio) for local shopping complexes, drew flak from the Opposition, both the Congress and the AAP, who urged the mayor, to get it rectified.
As per the proposed amendment in the Master Plan of Delhi 2021, the FAR is to be a uniform 350 for 100 sqm. The decision is yet to be cleared by the DDA' top decision-making body, but the printed speech says, "it has been done".
"It was a printing mistake," Shikha Rai told reporters.
The budget has also proposed 16 multi-level automated car parking and procurement of 72 electric cars soon.
"The new parking policy of Delhi government is to come soon. But, the SDMC is not in favour of charging parking fee for parking of vehicles in the inside lanes of colonies," Shikha Rai said.
Other decisions approved include, hike in fodder allowance for upkeep of cows in gaushalas, from Rs 20 to Rs 50; renaming of schools, parks and community centres to be after those killed in the line of duty, freedom fighters and great leaders.
Also, each councillor will also get Rs 10,000 for celebration of national events such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
Besides, the mayor also announced to provide 10 Victorian-styled benches each for all 104 wards, two mobile health vans, from the Mayor's Fund.
All lighting system in schools would be replaced with LED lights, the mayor said.