Kejriwal meets Sitharaman, demands hike in share of taxes
Ahead of the Union budget on July 5, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia called on Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday at her North Block office and demanded increase in Delhi’s share in central taxes.
“Delhi contributes around ₹1.5 lakh crore as income tax towards the central exchequer. But, in return Delhi gets only ₹325 crore as its share in central taxes, which has been frozen since nearly two decades. In comparison, the share of other states in central taxes is quite high. We have requested the finance minister to increase Delhi’s share in central taxes,” Kejriwal told reporters after meeting Sitharaman.
He also demanded to provide funds for municipal corporations in Delhi to improve their financial health.
The Delhi government also requested the Union finance minister to clear ₹3,000 crore pending integrated goods and services tax (IGST) dues of Delhi.
For over last four years, the AAP government in Delhi has been demanding that Delhi’s share in central taxes and duties be increased. In the Union interim budget in February this year, the Centre had allocated ₹1,112 crore for Delhi, while keeping its share in central taxes and duties unchanged.
Earlier this month, Delhi’s finance minister Sisodia had written to Sitharaman on the same issue and had demanded that Delhi be given ₹6,000 crore from central taxes and said the city has been getting only ₹325 crore for the last 18 years. He had said that other states get 42% of the share from central taxes.
Delhi’s former chief secretary Omesh Saigal, however, said, “Kejriwal’s contention may not be valid constitutionally because Delhi is a Union Territory and, therefore, the system in this case works differently.
“It is wrong to say that Centre’s funding to Delhi is less than other states. Delhi is a UT so there are lots of services such as the police for which the central government pays. The Delhi government does not have to pay for many others services also,” he said.
Saigal said the finance commission decides the share of the states in central taxes and not every state has the same share. Some states which are backward or come under the special category might get higher share but Delhi being a UT does not fall in any of such categories.
“The Delhi government has ample money and around ₹8,000 crore are being spent on subsidies on water, electricity, Metro among others. The government should regularise this fund to meet the demands,” Saigal said