10,000-crore wind­fall

Im­ple­men­ta­tion Of 4th DFC’s Rec­om­men­da­tions Can Help EDMC, N Corpn Tide Over Cri­sis

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY - Paras Singh & Mayank Manohar

New Delhi: Af­ter Delhi high court di­rected the state govern­ment to ap­por­tion taxes as per the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Fourth Delhi Fi­nance Com­mis­sion, cash strapped North Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and East Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion are look­ing for­ward to a fi­nan­cial re­vival. The east cor­po­ra­tion ex­pects to get around Rs 9,000 crore in ar­rears, while its north coun­ter­part is eye­ing Rs 1,616 crore.

The cash crunch in the two civic bod­ies has caused em­ployee un­rest, with staffers of­ten re­sort­ing to strikes to have their salaries paid. The li­a­bil­i­ties of the two cor­po­ra­tions have crossed Rs 4,000 crore. The fi­nance com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended in­creas­ing the share of the civic bod­ies in state taxes, du­ties, fees and toll in­come from the ex­ist­ing 10% to 12.5%. Of the 12.5%, 1.5% is ear­marked as Mu­nic­i­pal Re­form Fund and is payable only if the cor­po­ra­tions meet cer­tain norms.

The Fourth Fi­nance Com­mis­sion was to have been im­ple­mented in 2012-13 by Delhi govern­ment, with the fifth panel to be con­sti­tuted by 201718. How­ever, af­ter com­ing to power in 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party govern­ment made the in­creased pay­out con­di­tional to the Union govern­ment in­creas­ing Delhi’s share of cen­tral taxes.

Fol­low­ing the high court di­rec­tions, Vi­jen­der Gupta, leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Delhi Assem­bly, asked the Arvind Ke­jri­wal govern­ment to im­me­di­ately re­lease funds as per the fourth com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions and to ta­ble the re­port of the fifth panel in the leg­isla­tive body for ap­proval. “If Delhi govern­ment fails to do this im­me­di­ately, we will knock on the high court’s door for jus­tice,” said Gupta. “It is sad that the govern­ment hasn’t shown even an iota of in­ter­est in pro­cess­ing the Fifth Delhi Fi­nance Com­mis­sion re­port. On March 23, BJP moved a res­o­lu­tion on re­leas­ing funds to the civic bod­ies as per the fourth panel and on tabling the fifth com­mis­sion’s re­port, but the govern­ment voted out the res­o­lu­tion.”

As many as 35,000 em­ploy- ees in the north cor­po­ra­tion and over 18,000 in the east cor­po­ra­tion, in­clud­ing teach­ers, doc­tors, tech­ni­cal staff and re­tired per­son­nel, haven’t been paid their dues for several months. Ad­di­tion­ally, over 20,000 re­tired em­ploy­ees haven’t re­ceived their pen­sions, ar­rears and other ben­e­fits. North cor­po­ra­tion alone re­quires Rs 1,800 crore an­nu­ally to clear its salary bills and has li­a­bil­i­ties of over Rs 2,421 crore. To pay salaries, it has had to di­vert funds from var­i­ous heads caus­ing many de­vel­op­ment pro­jects to stall.

Ti­lak Raj Kataria, chair­man, stand­ing com­mit­tee, north cor­po­ra­tion, hoped the Ke­jri­wal govern­ment would hon­our the court de­ci­sion and re­lease funds soon. “It will im­prove the fi­nan­cial con­di­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion sub­stan­tially,” Kataria said.

EDMC mayor Neema Bha­gat too said, “I ex­pect the Rs 9,125 crore due to us to be re­leased in the right spirit. If we get these funds, we can restart dor­mant pro­jects, pay the con­trac­tors and meet other li­a­bil­i­ties.” She hoped too that the fifth fi­nance panel re­port would be pro­cessed, as­sur­ing EDMC of an in­creased share of funds. Bha­gat, how­ever, ap­pre­hended that the state govern­ment would not eas­ily agree to re­leas­ing more funds.

Point­ing out the im­bal­ance in the Ke­jri­wal govern­ment or­der­ing the reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion of con­trac­tual san­i­ta­tion work­ers but not spec­i­fy­ing the source of funds to pay their en­hanced salaries, SDMC mayor Ka­mal­jeet Sehrawat said, “The city govern­ment has not made it clear when it will re­lease the funds and how much it will re­lease to meet the ad­di­tional bur­den of chang­ing the sta­tus of the work­ers. We will need an ex­tra Rs 145 crore an­nual on this ac­count.”

Rail­way un­der­bridge and over­bridge in Sul­tan­puri

Mul­ti­level park­ing fa­cil­i­ties at Rani Bagh, Pi­ta­m­pura, Karol Bagh and Sant Na­gar Re­de­vel­op­ment of Kamla Mar­ket, Naini Lake salary Mul­ti­level park­ing fa­cil­i­ties at Kr­ishna Na­gar, Gandhi Na­gar, Preet Vi­har, Nand Na­gri, Geeta Colony Re­de­vel­op­ment of Shah­dara lake Amuse­ment park in Tahirpur Up­grade of health­care in hos­pi­tals

East cor­po­ra­tion to get as ar­rears and north cor­po­ra­tion

em­ploy­ees of north and 18,000 of east cor­po­ra­tion (in­clude doc­tors, teach­ers and tech­ni­cal staff)

in­cludes salary ar­rears of em­ploy­ees, pay­ments to con­trac­tors and loans bill, ap­prox)

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