The Delhi government has received a central grant of Rs 1,100 crore in the Union Budget for 2012-13, down from last year’s allocation of Rs 1,257 crore. Most of the allocation is under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) for infrastructure projects and housing for the urban poor.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, however, was not frowning on Friday. “I feel the Budget is a practical one in the given circumstances when the world is witnessing an economic slowdown,” she observed. She said the Budget was a balanced one despite the difficult political circumstances. “Delhi government is not suffering from any financial crunch, we are fine,” she said, pointing out that better tax collections had given a boost to the state’s finances. “If we need more funds, I am sure the Centre will assist us,” said the CM.
She said she had met urban development minister Kamal Nath on Friday. “The ministry has funds available under JNNURM and has shown its keenness to give us resources when we require,” she added.
Of the Rs 1,100 crore assigned to Delhi, Rs 700 crore is for JNNURM projects. Of this, Rs 400 crore is for urban infrastructure projects, Rs 290 crore for basic services for urban poor and Rs 10 crore for urban housing for poor under Rajiv Awaas Yojna. Of the amount left, Rs 281 crore has been allocated for externally assisted projects and Rs 68 crore under the Central Road Fund.
In 2011-12, of a total central allocation of Rs 1,257 crore, Rs 900 crore had been allocated for JNNURM projects but revised estimates show the state government was unable to utilize the funds – it’s down to Rs 400 crore. The state has blamed delayed clearances in most cases for the underutilization of these funds.
In 2011, the state government was struggling with its finances in the post-Commonwealth Games scenario. Dikshit had taken over the portfolio of finance from Dr AK Walia in February 2011. With allegations of corruption hounding them, officials went slow on projects and financial approval. In September, the finance department changing gears and went after departments seeking new projects, assigning resources and stepping up revenue boosting measures.
A special session of Delhi assembly will be held on March 21 for seeking a vote-on-account for allocation of funds for the first couple of mon