The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which is set to witness its first election, on December 4, after its unification five months ago, continues to face a backlog in payment of salaries and pensions to its employees.
The dues currently stand at ₹672 crore, a reduction from September’s backlog of ₹1,126 crore. Civic officials said the coming months will be difficult — especially for the political party that will come to power after the MCD polls – as the corporation is running low on finances.
The backlog has been continuing since before the merger of the three erstwhile municipal corporations — North, South and East — due to pending payments of salaries and pensions to employees across various categories under the erstwhile North and East Delhi corporations. Currently, the employees under the two erstwhile corporations have one to four months of pending salaries and pensions.
₹774 crore needed per month
“Apart from the dues, we require ₹774 crore more to pay salaries for each month, and this has to continue or the backlog will increase. After making the latest payment, our current finances are as low as ₹150 crore. It is likely that we will have to rely on our internal revenue for paying next month’s salaries since the external revenue sources have dried up and we can only wait for the next installment of external revenue, which is due after January,” said a civic official, adding that the MCD’s internal revenue has not increased significantly since the merger of the three erstwhile municipal corporations.
The official said close to 90% of the MCD’s finances are poured into salaries and pensions, leaving little room for new development projects.
“The backlog amount fluctuates every month. If we miss one payment the backlog will increase again, and it might force the employees to go on strikeEarlier, when councillors were in charge, there used to be recurring strikes over pending salaries,” said the MCD official.
Responding to the observations, MCD’s director for press and information Amit Kumar said the civic body is working to generate “adequate” internal revenue to ensure salary payments and added that the corporation’s latest property tax scheme — SAMRIDDHI — is getting a decent response.
“It is hoped that the scheme will help achieve targeted property tax collection during the current financial year. Moreover, all the other revenue-earning departments are performing better than previous years in revenue collection. Efforts are also being made to optimally monetise the corporation’s land and buildings. There is continuous monitoring to minimise avoidable expenditure. The money saved will add to the funds required for salary payment,” said Mr. Kumar.