Finance Ministry to consider giving Delhi more funds
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After repeated requests to increase Delhi's share in central taxes, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday said Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had assured her that he would give the issue "due consideration". Dikshit met the Finance Minister on Wednesday for a pre-budget consultation.
According to Dikshit, Delhi's share in central taxes has remained frozen at Rs 350 crore since 2001 and repeated requests have been made to increase the share to at least Rs 3,500 crore. "The astonishingly low Rs 350-crore limit was set in 2001 when the size of the annual plan was Rs 9,973 crore. This amount, for 2012-13, is Rs 33,436 crore," Dikshit said.
She said the city government, through policies such as VAT, excise and taxes, has managed to generate its own resources to bridge the gap.
According to Dikshit, neighbouring states such as Haryana and Punjab received Rs 3,936 crore and Rs 4,029 crore, respectively. While Delhi was not even treated as a union territory and, thus, got little financial support from the Union government. "Delhi requires additional grants considering its huge expenditure on development of infrastructure and implementation of schemes through the direct cash transfer scheme. Moreover, 65 per cent of our budget is allocated to social sector schemes," she said.
Dikshit said while Delhi released a substantial amount of its resources to local bodies, in accordance with the recommendations of the Delhi Finance Commission, the government is denied a just share in Central funds.
"According to recommendations of the Central Finance Commission, grants to civic bodies out of central funds are as applicable to other states. There is a need to include Delhi in the terms of reference of the Central Finance Commission to enable the government to claim a reasonable share in central taxes and access central funds like other states," Dikshit said.
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