Hundreds of crores in the red, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is planning on cutting spending to control its rising deficit even though the proposed budget for 2015-2016 envisages an increase.
EDMC Commissioner Amit Yadav told The Hindu that the civic body is working on a “twin-pronged approach” to improve its financial condition. “We have to raise revenue and curtail expenditure. Though it is a challenge, we have to have a more sustainable system,” said Mr. Yadav. All departments have been asked to draw up their actions plans, after which the Commissioner said a strategy will be worked out to streamline expenditure. The EDMC’s budgetary deficit for 2014-2015 will be Rs.612.33 crore, which is expected to increase to Rs.682.07 crore in 2015-2016. In addition, the civic body has not paid pensions to senior citizens and widows since April 2013 and has been late on salary payments to its employees, including teachers at municipal primary schools.
Mr. Yadav clarified that spending cuts would not lead to “reduction in delivery of services”, but efficiency of the EDMC’s various programmes would be increased.
On January 5, office-bearers of the BJP-led Corporation met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ask for emergency inflow of funds. EDMC Mayor Meenakshi said the civic body needed Rs.500 crore immediately, but the total amount required was Rs. 900 crore. Officials are now hopeful of some relief from the Centre.
The East Delhi civic body has been riddled with debt since its inception in 2012, when it was created after the division of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi. At that time, the EDMC started off with Rs. 421 crore in the red and was given a Rs.335 crore loan from the government. The revenue in 2014-2015 has fallen short of targets this fiscal at Rs. 1,292.80 crore, while expenditure was Rs.1,905.13 crore.
As per the budget estimates for 2015-2016 presented by former Commissioner Manish Gupta in November 2014, spending will be Rs. 2,265.52 crore and income is expected to be Rs.1,583.44 crore.
“The civic body is working on a ‘twin-pronged approach’ to improve its financial condition”