The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Tuesday warned the Delhi government that if it did not support the corporation financially, the civic body will be forced to shut down its pension schemes. Claiming that it had overshot its budget estimates in terms of expenditure, the South civic body has not given pensions to nearly 80,000 beneficiaries for over a year. Members of the standing committee on Tuesday pointed out that with the festival season around the corner, several thousand families in the city depended on the nominal pension provided by the corporation.
The last time the SDMC paid pensions to its beneficiaries was in September 2014. The standing committee members advised the chairman to divert funds from other projects so that the cumulative pension for three months — between October to December 2014 — could be given.
Financial advisor to the SDMC, Rajesh Pathak, advised the committee that the corporation was not in a position to provide funds for the pension scheme, as it had overshot its budget. “The finance department is anticipating a budget deficit of Rs 650 to Rs 700 crore this financial year. Keeping this in mind, the corporation will have to be careful with its expenditure,” said Pathak.
The corporation was also expecting further budget cuts from the AAP government. “In the last budget, we had asked the Delhi government for Rs 990 crore. The government sanctioned Rs 860 crore but in the revised budget estimates, we only received Rs 775 crore. For this year, we have sent a budgetary demand of Rs 1,100 crore and the sanctioned budget is approximately Rs 838 crore. We are unaware of how much of the total amount will actually be released,” said Pathak.
Standing committee chairman Radhey Shyam Sharma warned that if the government does not provide the corporation its dues, “all pensions will be suspended in 2015.” However, the Congress has warned that it will not allow the BJP-run civic body to do so “owing to its own failures”. The pension schemes of the three municipal corporations cover 1,90,000 beneficiaries, which include senior citizens, widows and differently-abled persons.