Union budget: Chandigarh MC’s hopes dashed, yet again
While civic body was looking for ₹1,073-cr grant from the Centre, it has been allocated just ₹425 cr
Municipal corporation’s financial hardship is far from over with the Union Budget again failing to allocate it funds as per the recommendations of the fourth Delhi Finance Commission.
While the MC had hoped for a ₹1,073-crore grant from the Centre, calculated on the basis of the Delhi Finance Commission’s report, it has been allocated just ₹425 crore — ₹50 crore more than the ₹375 crore grant in 2019-20.
Although, the UT administration is yet to officially declare the MC’s share (grant-in-aid) in the total budget for the city (₹5,138 crore), a rough estimate reveals that the civic body will not get more than ₹425 crore.
MC commissioner KK Yadav said while more clarity was needed on the total share for Chandigarh MC in the new budget, it was clear that the corporation did not get its due share as per Delhi Finance Commission’s recommendations.
“We will now have to keep our expenditure well within whatever is available for the next year,” he said.
Last year, the Centre released just ₹375 crore against the ₹1,024 crore that MC had expected. This resulted in MC’s failure to recarpet roads on time. Several other reforms, such as creation of extra water storage, could also not be taken up. Then contractual staff held multiple protests due to delayed salaries.
NO BIG-TICKET REFORM POSSIBLE
MC top brass confirmed that with the latest ₹425-crore grant, big-ticket reforms were not possible in the next fiscal as well.
This, despite the fact that the city has been struggling with poor water storage capacity, defunct sewerage and water supply lines, poor waste management infrastructure and broken roads, which require massive investment for reforms.
A senior official dealing with MC’s accounts said taking internal resources into account, MC will not have more than ₹700-725 crore for the next fiscal.
“With these funds, we can, at best, ensure completion of road works and other repairs. There is no scope to start big projects for which we will again have to rely on special grant from the UT administration,” he said.
MC’S FEB 7 BUDGET MEETING MERE FORMALITY
The latest announcement has reduced MC’s budget meeting on February 7 to a mere formality.
It had prepared a ₹1,350-crore budget outlay for 2020-21 based on the projection that it will get ₹1,073 crore from the Centre, while the remaining will come from its internal resources.
In the budget draft, it had kept aside ₹450 crore for development works, which now appear next to impossible.
Even as mayor Raj Bala Malik said she will do her best to get maximum funds for MC, Congress leader of opposition Devinder Singh Babla slammed the BJP-ruled MC, saying that it was a shame for the party that it was in power in Delhi and in Chandigarh, yet they could not manage adequate funds for the city’s development.
“The BJP has no right to remain in power now,” he said.
UT’S ₹150-CR BAILOUT PACKAGE
In November last year, UT had announced a ₹150-crore financial package for MC, based on its anticipation of additional funds from Centre in the new Union budget. MC officials confirmed that now the civic body will not get more than ₹70-75 crore after the revised estimates got nod in the Parliament on Friday.