Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the Centre has put on hold the presentation of the Delhi Government’s budget for 2023-24 in the Assembly on Tuesday, in signs of a fresh round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation and the Union Government.
Sources in the Delhi Government said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stopped the Kejriwal Government’s budget and it will not be tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday.
As the Chief Minister lashed out at the Centre, sources in the MHA said 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.
“The AAP Government has so far not responded to our queries,” one of the MHA sources said.
However, AAP Government sources denied the charges. The total budget size was Rs 78,800 crore, out of which Rs22,000 crore was earmarked for expenditure on infrastructure and just Rs 550 crore on advertisements, they said. The allocation for advertisement was the same as in last year’s budget, they said.
Speaking to a news channel on Monday, Kejriwal charged that the Centre was resorting to “gundagardi” and that it was for the first time in the history of the country that a budget of a Government was put on hold. A video clip of his speech was tweeted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
According to sources in the Lieutenant-Governor’s office, the LG approved the Annual Financial Statement for 2023-2024, with certain observations on March 9, and sent the file to the Chief Minister.
The Government of Delhi, thereafter, sought the approval of the President as mandated by law by sending a letter to the Home Ministry.
The Home Ministry 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.
There was no clarity yet on when the budget will be presented in the Assembly. The ongoing budget session of the Assembly is scheduled to conclude on March 23.