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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Despite repeated pleas, Delhi’s share in Budget pie stagnant

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia have taken the issue up with the Centre several times over the last six years, pointing out how the city’s allocation has remained Rs 325 crore for two decades.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 3, 2021 1:23:07 am
Delhi city news, Delhi news, Delhi government cars, Delhi government cars electric, indian express newsDelhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

With Delhi’s share in central taxes not seeing an increase in this year’s union budget, Delhi government officials said it would make things tougher for the city that is already reeling under the effects of the pandemic.

Officials said Delhi’s tax collection is still over 40% below of what it was last year.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia have taken the issue up with the Centre several times over the last six years, pointing out how the city’s allocation has remained Rs 325 crore for two decades.

On Monday, Sisodia had said the Centre had meted out “step-motherly” treatment to the city.

“The BJP-ruled Central government again disappointed Delhi as it received only Rs 325 crore, while citizens of Delhi pay Rs 1.5 lakh crore as tax. The municipal corporations have also been left high and dry, with zero allocation against the demand of Rs12,000 crore. The Centre has given Rs 2 lakh crore to all other municipal bodies across India but not to BJP-ruled MCDs… The UT of Jammu & Kashmir, which is constitutionally on similar footing as Delhi, has been provided grant of Rs.30,757 crore as against Rs 957 crore to Delhi.”

In a letter written to the Union Finance Minister last year, Sisodia had asked that Delhi’s share in taxes be increased since its contribution in taxes had gone up considerably over the past two decades.

He had also asked that the allocation of municipal corporations be increased to bring it at par with what other local bodies get. Municipal corporation elections in the city are expected to be held in May next year. For AAP and BJP, which is serving its fourth consecutive term, the election is crucial. Over the past three years, AAP has attacked BJP for failing to clean the city and provide adequate facilities to the people. There have also been regular employee strikes over non-payment of salaries and both AAP and BJP have blamed each other for the fund crunch. In this context, the allocation from the Centre has become a much-debated issue.

“Despite the BJP being in power at the Centre and in the corporations, the allocation has not increased. Every party wants to showcase its work a year before elections, but this will be difficult now. Authorities are already suffering the pandemic’s effects,” said a senior AAP leader.

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