Delhi govt seeks Rs 5,000 crore from Centre to pay employees' salaries: Sisodia
New Delhi, May 31: Faced with drastic decline in tax collection, the Delhi government on Sunday sought an immediate assistance of Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre to pay salaries to its employees and meet office expenses in this "hour of disaster".
Addressing an online media briefing, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the coronavirus-forced lockdown has affected the economy of the country as well as Delhi. After the briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and requested the central government to help the people of Delhi "in this hour of disaster".
Sisodia, who also holds finance portfolio, said the Delhi government required Rs 3,500 crore per month to pay salaries to its employees and meet office expenses.
He said that the tax collection in Delhi has been around 85 per cent less than the normal collection due to coronavirus and lockdown.
Sisodia said that in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he has demanded Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre as Delhi government did not get anything from the disaster relief fund that was given to other states, causing financial problems before the AAP dispensation.
"The major crisis before us is how to pay salaries of our employees so I have written to the Union Finance Minister for urgent assistance of Rs 5,000 crore," he said.
Delhi's tax collections are also low, the deputy chief minister said. In the last two months, Delhi's GST collection has been only Rs 500 crore each month, Sisodia said, adding that the total revenue of Delhi government from different sources was Rs 1735 crore in two months.
"But, we need at least Rs 7,000 crore to be able to pay salaries to our employees many of whom are discharging frontline duties against the coronavirus epidemic, and meet necessary office expenses," Sisodia said.
Due to decline in revenue collection, Delhi government had earlier this month imposed 70 per cent Special Corona Fee on the maximum retail price of liquor. It had also raised value added tax (VAT) on both petrol and diesel.