Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the opposition Congress attacked the Union Budget 2019-20 as “step-motherly” and full of “tokenism” and not hiking its share in Central Taxes or allocating the other demanded funds.
In a statement, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has not enhanced Delhi’s share in Central Taxes, which has stagnated at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02.
Last month, Sisodia had attended the pre-budget consultations with Sitharaman and had also met her separately along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on financial issues concerning Delhi and had demanded increase in the allocation for the city and separate funds for local bodies.
He said the Delhi government deserves its legitimate share in Central Taxes to finance various developmental projects.
“We had requested the Government of India a number of times to enhance the allocation to at least Rs 6,000 crore as share in Central Taxes,” he said, noting that the city-state’s budget has increased from Rs 8,739 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 60,000 crore in 2019-20, “whereas the share in Central Taxes has remained frozen at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02”.
He also said that the Centre has not earmarked any funds to local bodies of Delhi “although we had requested for allocation of Rs 1,150 crore as basic and performance grants to Local Bodies in Delhi in 2019-20 (BE)”.
He said his government is providing 12.5 per cent of its annual net tax collection to the local bodies, but they are not getting any financial support from the Centre.
He also said that the “Normal Central Assistance” to Delhi has also been cut.
“The expenditure of Delhi on schemes and programmes has increased by about nine times from Rs 3,129 crore in 2000-01 to Rs 27,000 crore in 2019-20 (BE). (But) The Normal Central Assistance which was 11.8 per cent (Rs 370 crore) of the scheme and programme expenditure in 2000-01 has declined to 1.75 per cent (Rs 472 crore)…”
He also said that the government had demanded that the Centre should increase the Normal Central Assistance to Rs 1,500 crore in 2019-20.
He also said that the legitimate demand of Delhi for its share of about Rs 3,202 crore in the unsettled amount of Rs 1.68 lakh crore of IGST, “which was devolved to the centre and state without Delhi getting any share, has not been addressed”.
The AAP and the Congress termed the Union Budget 2019-20 “disappointing” for the city.
Blaming the Central government of having “stepmotherly” treatment towards Delhi, AAP Rajya Sabha MP N.D. Gupta expressed disappointment on behalf of people of Delhi as its share in budget allocation remained unchanged.
In a tweet, Delhi Congress President Sheila Dikshit said the Budget was full of rhetoric and tokenism.
“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.
While the Congress and AAP said the city has not been given much, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta “expressed satisfaction” with the Budget.
“The budget envisions expansion of Metro and implementation of Delhi-Meerut Rapid Regional Transport System through public private partnership (PPP Model). Such steps will definitely lay foundation for future modern public transport system,” he said.
He also said raising of limit of standard deduction from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakhs for housing loan upto 45 lakhs will encourage housing for all programme.