Here's Why Delhi Is Disappointed Post Union Budget 2018
On February 1, Narendra Modi government came out with its last full budget ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. However, not many stakeholders seem happy with it. To start with Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal has claimed that the Centre has again ignored the needs of the national capital. He tweeted, “I had expected some financial assistance to important infrastructure projects. I’m disappointed that the Centre continues its step-motherly treatment to Delhi.”
Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister tweeted,"Disappointing #Budget2018. Not a single extra rupee increased in Delhi's share in Central taxes since 2001-02, stays at Rs 325 Cr. No other part of India gets such treatment.”
While there is little for middle-class taxpayers in Jaitley’s Budget Speech, Delhi citizens are claiming that the centre has completely condoned them. Here’s what has been done and a list of things that could have been done.
Addressing air pollution
The finance minister announced a special scheme to control rising pollution in the national capital and surrounding regions. The Scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution, subsidise machinery required for management of crop residue and to tackle stubble burning.
However, several green bodies have criticised the scheme as mere ‘lip-job’ and that the scheme has to be implemented quickly to counter the ‘national-emergency’ like situation.
Connectivity to other NCR region
In another incentive to boost connectivity in Delhi's vicinity, The Centre has allocated Rs 659 crore for the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS). A high-speed rail link, connecting the national capital region cities of Delhi, Alwar, Meerut and Panipat has got a major budget boost. This will open new prospects for real estate investments in these regions as faster connectivity would encourage the growth. Being hailed as fast, high capacity, comfortable, and commuter-friendly service for joining regional nodes of NCR to Delhi, the total expenditure for Delhi-Meerut corridor is expected to be Rs 32,000 crore. Around 70 per cent of the amount will be financed through loan. The state governments of Delhi and UP will share almost 15 per cent costs.
However, the metro expansion plan was completely overlooked by the centre as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) got only Rs 50 crore for projects in the NCR, as compared to Rs 150 crore allocated in the last financial year.
No increase in share in central taxes
The main criticism for the central government is for not increasing Delhi’s share in central taxes, which has been stagnant since 2001-02. While the population rose by almost 50 per cent, the share in central taxes is limited to Rs 325 crore. The matter of the fact is Delhi government's budget has increased by 450 percent from Rs 8,739 crore to Rs 48,000 crore with a corresponding increase in tax collection from Rs 4,400 crores to Rs 48,000 crores, a jump of 991 percent. Being the nerve centre of trade, commerce and tourism in North India, the city was expecting better treatment from the centre, keeping in view the rise in tax collection in the past decade.
What makes the entire episode more disheartening for Delhi citizens is the fact that Puducherry, another Union Territory with its own legislature gets more central assistance despite lower population. Delhi has been given an assistance of Rs 790 crore compared to Puducherry that got Rs 1,476 crore, even when Puducherry is significantly smaller compared to the sprawling metropolis that is Delhi. The national capital is three times bigger and 12 times more populated.
- Centre has not allocated separate monies for women and child protection in Delhi, despite rising crime rate in the national capital. As per Delhi Police data, the number of rapes reported each year in Delhi, has registered an increase of almost 277 percent from 572 in 2011 to 2,155 incidents in 2016.
- Even Delhi Police’s budgetary allocation sees a mere jump of 6 percent (from Rs 6,553 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 6,946 crore in 2018-19) at a time when Delhi Police is asking for urgent reforms in traffic management and intensive capacity building.
- Despite being in the earthquake seismic zone, Union Budget allocated only Rs 5 crore to the Disaster Response Fund for Delhi. This fund is used in case of natural calamities, without waiting for Centre's approvals.
- No plans have been announced for regularisation of unauthorised colonies and giving more land to Delhi government to build clinics, schools, hospitals and bus depots.
- The Centre has also not earmarked any funds to local bodies of Delhi, even though the state government had requested for an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore as local bodies grant.
With inputs from Housing News