Sisodia demands Rs.2,000 crore as grant for civic bodies

New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday presented recommendations of the city government for the union budget at a pre-budget consultation with union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and demanded at least Rs.2,000 crore as grant for the capital’s civic bodies.

“Delhi should get at least Rs.2,000 crore as basic and performance grants for local bodies similar to that of neighbouring states. This will facilitate in tiding over the financial crisis in the East and North municipal corporations,” said Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s finance minister.

Highlighting the peculiar problems faced by the capital, Sisodia said the city government in active collaboration with citizens conducted the odd-even vehicle restriction scheme for the first time in the country, in an effort to control air pollution.

He said that to augment public transport in Delhi, a special package of Rs.4,000 crore from the central government was required to purchase 5,000 additional buses, which will encourage citizens to shift to public transport.

Sisodia said Delhi was being deprived of resources required for investment.

“Land is a valuable resource, which we don’t have. We don’t control land use,” he said.

“We don’t have a share in central taxes. Our tax base is narrow because 87.5 percent of gross state domestic product is from services.”

He also demanded that Delhi be treated at par with other states for share in central taxes, which has remained stagnant at Rs.325 crore since 2001-02.

This will enable Delhi to get at least Rs.5,000 crore per annum, he said.

He said excise duty on diesel vehicles may be increased because of the adverse effect on air pollution.

The central government should formulate a scheme to address the agrarian crisis.

Compensation for crop damage of Rs.50,000 per hectare on the lines of the Delhi model should be implemented at the national level, he said.

Sisodia also said the Delhi government fully supports introduction of Goods and Services Tax at the earliest.

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