Delhi’s share in central taxes stays unchanged, AAP alleges step-motherly treatment
The Centre on Friday did not announce any hike in Delhi’s share in Central taxes prompting the ruling Aam Aadmi Party to allege that it showed the BJP-led NDA government’s step-motherly treatment towards the Capital.
Raising Delhi’s share in Central taxes, which has remained the same for 19 years, has been a long-pending demand of AAP .
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who presented the Union Budget on Friday, allocated Rs 325 crore as grants in lieu of its share in Central taxes and duties against Delhi government’s demand of Rs 6,000 crore.
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“Delhi’s budget has increased from Rs 8,739 crore in year 2001-02 to Rs 60,000 crore in 2019-20 (budget estimate), whereas its share in Central taxes has remained frozen at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02,” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Three-time chief minister and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit also said the Union Budget did not reflect the interests of the national Capital. “It was a disappointing budget — full of rhetoric and tokenism but devoid of substance. Being the capital of India, Delhi has not been getting its due over the last few budgets,” she said in a tweet.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called it a “routine budget”.
Although the total funds for Delhi increased from Rs 867.49 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 1,112 crore this fiscal, a large part of the hiked funds correspond to an allocation of Rs 300 crore with regard to Central assistance for an externally-aided project. The fund for Delhi under the Centre’s assistance to Union territories increased from Rs 449.99 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 472 crore in the current fiscal. The same was Rs 412.98 crore in 2017-18.
“This Rs 300 crore is a fund from foreign company JICA for Delhi Jal Board’s Chandrawal water treatment plant project. The agreement was done in such a way that it comes through the Centre. It is not a fund which has come from the Centre’s coffers,” said Dinesh Mohaniya, vice chairperson, DJB.
Sisodia said despite the fact that he and Kejriwal had met Sitharaman ahead of the budget, the Centre did not agree to the Delhi government’s demand of giving special assistance to the three MCDs. “We had requested for an allocation of Rs 1,150 crore as basic and performance grants to the MCDs in 2019-20. We are providing 12.5% of our annual net tax collection to the local bodies. However, the MCDs are not getting any financial support from the government of India,” Sisodia said in a statement.
The AAP said the budget shows the Centre’s “step-motherly” treatment towards Delhi. “Delhi contributes around Rs 1.5 lakh crore as income tax towards the Central exchequer, which is the second highest after Mumbai. If we compare what other states get from the Centre, then Delhi is entitled for Rs 6,000 crore,” said senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP ND Gupta.
Delhi’s former chief secretary Omesh Saigal said the finance commission decides the share of the states in central taxes on several parameters. “Some states which fall under backward or special category might have been getting higher share but Delhi being a Union Territory does not fall in any such categories. Delhi is a UT, so there are lots of services such as police for which the central government makes the payment. Delhi government does not have to pay for many such services,” Saigal said.
Welcoming the budget, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, “The budget will speed up Metro work. The government is also considering opening waterways and encouraging e vehicles.”