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Centre unlikely to release additional funds to Delhi civic bodies

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The central government is unlikely to release additional funds to the municipal corporations of "at this stage" in view of the current statutory provisions and overall fiscal resources, officials said Tuesday.

This comes a day after the said it was "unfortunate and tragic" that the Centre was not prepared to "make any payment at all" to resolve the crisis arising out of the strike by sanitation workers of East Municipal Corporation (EDMC) over the demand for regular payment of salaries.

A cited the "failure" of the to implement the report of 4th Finance Commission (DFC) relating to allocation of funds by the to the city's five local bodies including EDMC.

The 4th DFC, which submitted its report in 2013, had recommended additional funding of Rs 1,220 crore to the three municipal bodies -- East, West and South Delhi -- from the Delhi government, of which the majority share of Rs 1,140 crore was to go to EDMC.

The has been funding the municipal corporations as per the award of the 3rd DFC, even though the report of 5th DFC, constituted during Kejriwal's tenure, was submitted in October 2017, the said.

Further, as per terms of the DFC, its mandate is to recommend principles to govern distribution of net proceeds of taxes and duties leviable by the among the Delhi government and the three municipal corporations, and

The DFC has no mandate which has a bearing on the government of India, the said.

The had in its order dated April 16, 2018, upheld the central government's contention that the DFC cast no obligation on it, while directing that "in terms of recommendations of 4th DFC, the National Capital Territory of Delhi (government) shall forthwith release all amounts payable to EDMC and North Delhi municipal corporation with w.e.f November 1, 2017, enable payment of salaries, funds and financial benefits to the employees".

Later the HC reiterated this direction on May 21, 2018.

The Delhi government, however, appealed against this order of the on the grounds that it could not implement the recommendations of 4th DFC unless the central government fulfilled certain other recommendations.

The Centre thereafter filed an affidavit before a bench of the comprising justices Madan Lokur, S and in a separate matter relating to in Delhi, merely citing the statutory provisions that the funds to local bodies of Delhi have to be transferred by the Delhi government, for which the recommendations of the 4th DFC have to be implemented.

On October 5, the Centre further conveyed through that while the central government did release grants for local bodies as per recommendations of the Central Finance Commission, the award of the was only for the states and not for Union Territories like Delhi.

The budgetary allocation for Union Territories was done as for other schemes of the central government, by considering overall resources and fiscal space.

Another official said the Delhi government had been allocated Rs 790 crore as central assistance for the current fiscal, which includes Rs 325 crore already released as grant in lieu of share in central taxes and duties. The remaining amount will be released in instalments.

There is a statutory procedure for increasing the budgetary allocation to Delhi government, and must involve the Union However, in view of the current statutory provisions and overall fiscal resources, the central government is not in a position to release funds at this stage to the city government, the official said.

The central government, which is now required to file an affidavit on the issue before two separate benches of the by October 22 and October 24, is expected to file identical affidavits repeating the aforesaid arguments and expressing its inability to offer further funds to the Delhi government.

Yesterday, a bench of justices and noted that the court had expected the Centre to "graciously reciprocate" to the offer of the Delhi government which agreed to release Rs 500 crore to civic bodies on humanitarian grounds.

"Unfortunately and tragically, the central government has now filed an affidavit that it is not prepared to make any payment at all," the bench said.

It noted in its order that on October 3, the Delhi government had submitted in the court that for tiding over the sanitation crisis, an amount of Rs 500 crore would be released by them within two days without prejudice to their rights and contentions.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 09 2018. 18:05 IST