With the city’s three municipal corporations facing their worst financial crisis in years, the 2016-17 Union Budget does not include any extra financial assistance for the corporations. Also, the share in central taxes and duties for the capital remained unchanged despite the Delhi government’s demand for a hike. Delhi was allotted Rs 758 crore.
Calling it a budget that shields black money launderers, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said it has cheated the people of Delhi.
“The Union (Budget) has not earmarked any funds to local bodies in Delhi, although we had requested for allocation of at least Rs 1,000 crore as basic and performance grants for them. We are providing 10.5 per cent of our annual tax collection to the local bodies. However, they are not getting any non-plan support from the Government of India,” said the deputy CM.
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Sisodia had also demanded Rs 4,000 crore from the central government for purchase of 5,000 additional buses of different categories. This has not been given as well.
He added that the budget has also not given any increase in share in Central Taxes. “The share in central taxes of Delhi has not been increased from Rs 325 crore — which Delhi has been getting since 2001-02. The Delhi government deserves its legitimate share in central taxes to finance various development projects. We requested the Centre many times to enhance the allocation to at least Rs 5,000 crore… While the Budget of Delhi has increased from Rs 8,739 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 41,129 crore in 2015-16, the share in Central Taxes has remained frozen at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02,” said Sisodia.
The deputy CM also criticised the allocation given to the Delhi Disaster Response Fund. “A peanut amount of Rs 5 crore is not sufficient if any natural disaster strikes Delhi. We are already in a high seismic zone,” he said.
Sisodia also said the Budget provided just a nominal increase in central assistance to Delhi. “Central assistance has increased only by Rs 18 crore (4.6 per cent ) from Rs 394.98 crore in the current year (budget estimate, BE) to Rs 412.99 crore in the next year BE,” said the deputy CM.
However, the plan expenditure of Delhi has increased by six times from Rs 3,129 crore in 2000-01 to Rs 19,000 crore in 2016-17.
“We had requested an increase in Normal Central Assistance to at least Rs 1,000 crore in the current year (revised estimate) and
Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17 (budget estimate). However, in the Budget, an amount of Rs 49.90 crore as an Additional Central Assistance has been proposed in the revised estimate of current year as a share of Government of India for construction of new a office building (S-Block) of Delhi High Court,” said Sisodia.
He also said the reimbursement of enhanced compensation to the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims is not adequate. The Delhi government has already spent Rs 76 crore as enhanced compensation to the victims, while the budget provides Rs 10 crore for this year and Rs 15 core next year.
The Delhi BJP, however, lauded the budget and called it progressive. “The Budget brings a new ray of hope for the poor and reflects that the government is committed to uplifting every poor person. Gas connection for poor women and electrification of all villages by 2018 within the government’s present tenure has come out as a committed working scheme and not just an announcement,” said BJP unit chief Satish Upadhyay.