The Delhi government on Sunday requested the Centre for an assistance of Rs 5,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees and meet office expenses. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, addressing a virtual press conference, said the Aam Aadmi Party government made the request as the lockdown has badly affected the economy of the Capital.

Sisodia said the Delhi government did not get anything from the disaster relief fund that was provided to other states. “The major crisis before us is how to pay salaries of our employees so I have written to the Union Finance Minister [Nirmala Sitharaman] for urgent assistance of Rs 5,000 crore,” he said.

He said Delhi’s tax collections are also low. In the last two months, Delhi’s Goods and Services Tax collection has been just Rs 500 crore per month. He said that the total revenue of the Delhi government from all sources for April and May was just Rs 1,735 crore.

“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.

After Sisodia’s press conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Request the central government to help the people of Delhi in this hour of disaster.”

The Aam Aadmi Party government had earlier this month increased the Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel, in order to boost revenue. It also imposed a “special corona fee” of 70% on liquor.

Delhi is one of the badly affected states in India. As of Sunday afternoon, it had reported 18,549 cases of the coronavirus, including 416 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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