Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Sunday that he has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asking for a Rs 5,000-crore package for Delhi because of the shortfall in revenue collection during the lockdown.
“We have reviewed Delhi government’s minimum expenses. According to that, we would need around Rs 3,500 crore every month to pay salaries to our employees and meet other office expenses. The GST collection in the past two months has only been Rs 500 crore, and after combining it with other sources, we have managed to collect Rs 1,735 crore. But we need at least Rs 7,000 crore. I have written to the Union Finance Minister seeking aid of Rs 5,000 crore to help us pay salaries,” he said.
Sisodia said Delhi has not received any financial assistance from the Centre under the Disaster Relief Fund so far.
“Other states have received financial assistance from the fund, but Delhi government has not received any such aid yet. Even during usual times, Delhi does not receive any sort of aid from the Centre. But now as Delhi government’s revenue is severely affected due to the lockdown, it is about time we received some financial relief from the Centre to be able to pay salaries of our employees —teachers, doctors, engineers, civil defence personnel, and people involved in coronavirus relief work,” he said.
Senior government officials said these considerations had led the Delhi government to push for more relaxations in the lockdown over the past month. “The virus will not go anywhere. We have to prepare our hospitals and our people. None of this can happen without funds,” said an official.
In the letter, an official said, Sisodia has pointed out that Delhi passed a budget of Rs 65,000 crore for the financial year 2020-21. The letter also said Delhi is usually confident of managing its “budgetary requirements” and has posted surplus in the past.
The Delhi government has told the Delhi High Court, “Owing to the clampdown on all economic activity, the revenue of the GNCTD (which primarily came from VAT/GST collection; state excise and stamp duty), has shrunk by almost 90% in the month of April 2020, and the total collection dwindled to a mere Rs 300 crore as opposed to approximately Rs 4,000 crore in the corresponding month last year.”
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