‘Please Don’t Stall Delhi Budget’: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Urges PM Narendra Modi

Delhi Chief Minister had on Monday announced that the Delhi Budget would not be presented on Tuesday and blamed the Centre for stalling it and termed it "hooliganism".

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to stop the Budget presentation in the assembly a day after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena raised “certain concerns” of administrative nature on the budget proposal. In his letter to the PM, the Delhi Chief Minister said, “It is the first time in the country’s 75-year history that a state budget has been stopped. Why are you angry with the people of Delhi? The people of Delhi are pleading with folded hands, please pass our Budget.”

It may be noted that the Delhi Chief Minister had on Monday announced that the Delhi Budget would not be presented on Tuesday and blamed the Centre, calling it “hooliganism”.

On Monday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) requested the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government to resubmit the Budget addressing L-G’s concerns regarding fiscal interest. The reply from the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is awaited for the last four days, said the MHA.

According to the MHA statement, the Annual Financial Statement (Budget) for the year 2023-23 and the second and last batch of Supplementary Demands for the year 2022-23 was received in the Ministry of Home Affairs, under the provisions of Section 27(1) and Section 30(1) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 for the previous sanction of the President of India for laying it before the Legislative Assembly of Delhi.

“The Lieutenant Governor, Delhi, had raised certain concerns of administrative nature on the proposed Budget, keeping in view the fiscal interest of the National Capital Territory on which MHA vide its letter dated March 17, 2023, has requested GNCTD to resubmit the Budget addressing these concerns for taking further action. The reply from GNCTD is awaited for last four days,” read the MHA statement.

For the benefit of the people of Delhi, the Delhi government should submit the reply immediately, said the Union Home Ministry.

The Centre and the Kejriwal government in Delhi which have been at loggerheads on various issues, has now again entered into a new tussle after the Aam Aadmi Party alleged on Monday that the Ministry of Home Affairs stalled the government`s Budget 2023-24 which was scheduled to be presented on Tuesday in the Delhi Assembly.

However, the Home Ministry sources dismissed the allegations, adding that the MHA has instead sought clarification from the Delhi government as its budget allocation was focussed on advertisement rather than the infrastructure sector.

Responding to the MHA`s point, the Delhi government said that the allocation for the advertisement has not been increased in this year`s budget. “MHA is lying. The total budget of Delhi is Rs 78,800 crores. Out of this, Rs 22,000 crores are for infrastructure, while only Rs 550 crores will be spent on advertisement. Last year also the budget for advertisement was the same. There is no increase in the advertising budget,” Delhi`s Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

The Delhi LG office said that VK Saxena had approved the Annual Financial Statement 2023-2024 with certain observations on March 9, and sent the file to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “Delhi Government thereafter sought the approval of President Droupadi Murmu by sending a letter to the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry conveyed its observations to the Delhi Government on March 17. The Budget was to be presented on March 21,” the LG Office said.

The LG Office further said that it is yet waiting for the file to be sent to it from the Delhi Chief Minister. Notably, Delhi`s Budget goes to the Home Ministry for approval. Only when the MHA approves the Budget, it is presented in the Delhi Assembly.