Delhi Budget postponed, FM Kailash Gahlot calls it ‘unconstitutional’ | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi Budget postponed, FM Kailash Gahlot calls it ‘unconstitutional’

ByAlok KN Mishra
Mar 21, 2023 12:13 PM IST

Delhi finance minister Kailash Gahlot said the development has left the elected government and the chief minister irrelevant

Delhi finance minister Kailash Gahlot on Tuesday said the 2023-24 Budget presentation has been postponed and that an elected government has been stopped from presenting it for the first time in the country’s history.

Minister Kailash Gahlot speaking in the assembly. (ANI)
Minister Kailash Gahlot speaking in the assembly. (ANI)

“I am informing the House with a heavy heart [about the postponement]...” he said as he spoke at the beginning of the third day of the Budget session of the Delhi assembly when he was scheduled to present the Budget.

Gahlot, who arrived in the House without the Budget document, said its presentation was scheduled in advance. “On March 10, all documents as per law were sent to [Union] MHA [ministry of home affairs]. At 2pm, on Monday, I came to know about the queries [about the Budget]... I talked to chief secretary [Naresh Kumar] and principal secretary of finance [Ashish Chandra Verma] and directed them to put up the queries.”

He said at 6pm on Monday, the file accordingly came to him and he responded and sent it to the lieutenant governor (LG). “At 10:30pm, the file was returned. If the elected government is not allowed to present the Budget...no act can be more unconstitutional,” Gahlot said.

Gahlot blamed Kumar and Verma for the delay. He said the file was sent to Verma on Monday night. “In the morning, [Verma] informed me that the file has been sent to the MHA on Tuesday morning,” said Gahlot.

Gahlot said the development has left the elected government and the chief minister irrelevant. “If the Budget is not presented, the salaries of the employees will stop. The entire development should be investigated,” Gahlot said.

Gahlot said a decision on the presentation of the Budget will now be taken after necessary approval from the MHA.

Delhi assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel earlier called the delay in the Budget unconstitutional and illegal. “I have come to know that the Budget cannot be tabled today [Tuesday],” Goel said when the assembly proceedings began.

The Delhi government and the LG have blamed each other over the delay in necessary approvals. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed at an event that the Union government blocked the Budget.

MHA officials aware of the matter denied Kejriwal’s allegations and said the approval was held up because of some queries the LG raised.

The clarifications were sought on four counts. The first was related to what the LG apparently flagged as inadequate spending on capital expenditure. The second was related to plans for subsidy as compensation to agencies with uneconomic recovery.

Third, the Delhi government had not implemented central schemes like Ayushman Bharat, which has put additional funds out of its reach. Fourth, the Budget estimate for spending by the information and publicity department was pegged at over 500 crore, against a spend of 272 crore in the current fiscal.

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