‘Conspiracies’: AAP targets Centre, Delhi chief secretary over budget delay | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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‘Conspiracies’: AAP targets Centre, Delhi chief secretary over budget delay

Mar 21, 2023 12:11 PM IST

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) asked Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) V K Saxena whether he will remove chief secretary Naresh Kumar from the post

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Tuesday accused Delhi chief secretary Naresh Kumar of conspiring to derail the city’s annual budget process at the behest of the central government and asked lieutenant governor (LG) V K Saxena whether he will remove Kumar from the post.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief spokesperson and Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj. (File Photo)
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief spokesperson and Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj. (File Photo)

AAP chief spokesperson and Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that the chief secretary had sat on the Centre’s letter with queries regarding the Delhi Budget 2023-24 proposals for three days from March 17 till March 20.

He said the budget document was sent to the central government on March 10 and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sent it back with some queries to the chief secretary on March 17.

“The file was not sent to the elected chief minister but to the chief secretary against whom many allegation have been raised for stalling the projects of the elected government in Delhi. On March 20, at 6pm, the secretary told us that this file has been sent by the Centre and the chief minister cleared it by 9pm returning it to LG. what could have been completed in 3 hours took 3 days? This has been done at the behest of the central government,” Bharadwaj alleged.

“Will the LG remove the chief secretary by evening. They will do nothing as all these conspiracies are being executed at the behest of central government,” he added.

Earlier, finance minister Kailash Gehlot, in a statement issued, accused the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) of scuttling Delhi’s budget and said the role of the Delhi chief secretary and finance secretary in delaying the budget ought to be probed.

The budget requires approval from the President through the Union home ministry. HT has reached out to the LG’s office and the chief secretary for their reaction.

The Delhi Budget 2023-24 was scheduled to be presented by finance minister Kailash Gehlot in the Assembly on Tuesday. However, on Monday evening, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the central government had put it on hold.

Officials aware of the development at the MHA denied the AAP government’s allegations and said the approval had been held up because of some queries raised by the lieutenant governor (LG).

Bharadwaj also questioned the process of submitting the Delhi budget to the central government while terming it “undemocratic”. “Why should bureaucrats sitting in MHA have power to question the budget of an elected assembly,” he said.

He added that budget process is sacrosanct in democracy and in the 75-year history of the country, it has never happened that a state government’s budget has been stopped by the central government. “It is a shameful development, we are making mockery of our democracy,” he said.

The minister stated that stalling of budget has led to uncertainty in the minds of government employees regarding the payment of their salaries. He added that the allegations made against the government for having a massive advertisement allocation in the budget are false.

“The capital expenditure in the budget is more than Rs20,000 cr while the advertisement budget is exactly same as last year (around 500cr). These allegations are baseless,” he added.

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