AAP vs Centre again: Kejriwal says PM ‘stalling’ Delhi Budget after MHA red-flags ad spend

The annual Budget of Delhi, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 11 AM, will not be presented today, with Kejriwal alleging that the Centre had “stopped” it.

Arvind Kejriwal (File Image)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to “not stop Delhi’s budget”, reported PTI. The annual Budget of Delhi, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 11 AM, will not be presented today, with Kejriwal alleging that the Centre had “stopped” it.

In his letter, Kejriwal said, “This is the first in the last 75 years that a state’s budget has been stalled. Why are you upset with Delhiites? Please don’t stall Delhi’s budget. With folded hands, Delhiites urge you to pass their budget.”

At an event organised by News 18 India, Kejriwal said, “You will be shocked. This has never happened before in the history of the country. The Delhi Budget has to be presented in the Delhi Assembly tomorrow morning. The Centre has stopped the Delhi Budget from being presented. The Budget will not come tomorrow morning. Delhi government employees will not get paid, doctors, teachers will not be paid.”

He further alleged that the Centre was resorting to “hooliganism”.

The Budget was to be presented by newly appointed finance minister Kailash Gahlot, who tabled the economic survey and outcome budget on Monday.

Following Kejriwal’s remarks, a statement from the Lieutenant Governor’s office said Vinai Kumar Saxena had approved the Annual Financial Statement with certain observations on March 9 and sent the file to the Chief Minister. The Delhi government then sought the mandatory approval of the President, writing to the Home Ministry, which conveyed its observations to the Delhi government on March 17. The LG office is awaiting for the file to be sent to it from the chief minister.

However, sources in the MHA told news agency PTI that the ministry has sought clarification from the AAP government as its Budget proposal had high allocation for advertisement and relatively low funding for infrastructure and other development initiatives, a charge refuted by Finance Minister Gahlot.

Terming the allegations as lies, Gahlot said that the total budget size was Rs 78,800 crore, out of which 22,000 crore was earmarked for expenditure on infrastructure and just Rs 550 crore was allocated for advertisements, which was the same as last year’s Budget.

According to L-G office sources, Saxena flagged that “as against proposed Budget size of Rs 78,800 crore, the expenditure on Capital components is indicated at Rs 21,816 crore, which is only 27.68%… Further, this also includes Rs 5,586.92 crore on account of loan repayment, which, if excluded will further reduce the Capital component to Rs 16,230 crore which is only 20% of the budget.”

“It is noted that expenditure incurred by the Directorate of Information & Publicity as per the Revised Estimate 2022-23 is Rs 272.21 crore against the Budget Estimate of Rs 511.64 crore. However, the allocation for the Budget Estimate 2023-24 is Rs. 557.24 crore, which seems incomprehensible and unjustifiable,” the L-G further said.

The ongoing Budget session of the Delhi Assembly is scheduled to conclude on March 23. Earlier in the day, the Assembly was adjourned till 11 AM today.

Meanwhile, Delhi Assembly Speaker R N Goel said that the tabling of the Budget remains on the list of business for today, reported The Indian Express.

“That will remain as is. If the Budget is not being tabled, the Finance Minister will make a statement. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 21-03-2023 at 10:53 IST
Exit mobile version