Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded from the Centre a “special” grant-in-aid of Rs 4,087 crore for the local bodies in the national capital on par with other states.
The 14th Central Finance Commission allocated grant-in-aid of Rs 2,87,436 crore for the local bodies for the award period 2015-2020. However, National Capital Territory of Delhi and the union territories have been ommitted from it altogether on the argument that only states were covered under the award scheme of Central Finance Commission, Kejriwal said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.
“The grant-in-aid of Rs 2,87,436 works out to be Rs 488 per capita per annum. Delhi with population of 1.675 crore, as per 2011 Census, should be provided Rs 4,087 crore, at the base rate of Rs 488 per capita per annum, in the 14th Central Finance Commission grant-in-aid for the local bodies,” he said.
The terms of reference for the Central Finance Commission as per Article 280(3)(C) of the Constitution, is to make recommendations about measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a state to supplement resources of its municipalities.
But, the terms of reference for the Central Finance Commissions (11th to 14th) that predate the 69th Amendment to Constitution which created the Legislative Assembly for NCT of Delhi and placed Delhi in a class by itself, with an elected government and fiscal powers and arrangements similar to others states in the country, he said.
The argument that only states are covered under award schemes of Central Finance Commission is “completely unfair” as the municipalities in Delhi perform the same functions as the municipalities in other states. Further, the taxation and other fiscal powers of the Government of NCT of Delhi are also similar to other states, he said.
Kejriwal also requested the Prime Minister that while drafting the terms of reference for the future Central Finance Commissions, it should be ensured that the NCT of Delhi and union territories are also included in the “scope” of their grant-in-aid recommendations.
He claimed that local bodies in all the states are under “financial crunch” and depend on significant relief as grant-in-aid of the Central Finance Commissions.
“The situation of municipal corporations in Delhi is not different and merits the same consideration from the central government,” he said.