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Kejriwal writes to Union ministers for funds for local bodies

Thursday - July 18, 2019 11:20 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday wrote to Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman (Finance) and Amit Shah (Home) to enable the Finance Commission to recommend legitimate share of Delhi in Central taxes and for basic and performance grants to local bodies in the city.
In the two letters written to the ministers, Kejriwal said he wanted the Centre to treat Delhi as a full-fledged state.
"Delhi has the character of a state and therefore, there is a strong case for treating Delhi at par with states for the purpose of share of Central taxes and its local bodies to get grants being recommended by the Fifteenth Finance Commission. Even as a Union Territory, Delhi was being considered for recommendation for grants in lieu of Central taxes till the Tenth Finance Commission," he wrote.
He said to provide grants to Local Bodies, Delhi is equated with full-fledged states and when it comes to receipt of share in Central taxes, Delhi has been left out since the year 2000.
"I shall be grateful if you could provide additional terms of reference to the Fifteenth Finance Commission to enable it to recommend the legitimate share of Delhi in the Central taxes, basic and performance grants to local bodies and other grants if any being recommended to states for the award period of the Fifteenth Finance Commission," Kejriwal added.
The Delhi Chief Minister said the additional Terms of Reference to the Finance Commission at this stage would bring justice to the people of Delhi.
He said transfer of grants for Delhi in lieu of a share in Central taxes has remained stagnant at Rs 325 crore per annum since the year 2000, "which happened to be the last year of the duration of the Tenth Finance Commission".
"As the Capital of the Country and one of the fastest growing metropolises, the claims on its resources are immense and varied. While the government of Delhi has to maintain infrastructure that meets world standards, it also has to improve supply of civic amenities to the burgeoning population who legitimately expect employment and a fulsome life in the Capital," he added.
Kejriwal said, consequently, large investments in education, health and others have to be made.
"But for the inadvertent omission of erstwhile article 270(3) of the Constitution of India, the Government of Delhi would be getting its legitimate share in Central taxes of at least Rs 6,500 crore per annum with an appropriate annual enhancement like other states to finance the development needs."
He added that Delhi has five urban local bodies, of which three are major municipal corporations having population between 39 lakh to 62 lakh.

--IANS nks/prs