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 tomorrow 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 the 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 office said.
The office further said that it is yet waiting for the file to be sent to it from the Delhi Chief Minister.
Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot, in a statement, alleged that the MHA "stopped" the Delhi government from presenting its annual budget for 2023-24 on its scheduled date, March 21, 2023.
"The budget was sent for MHA's approval as per regular practice well in advance on March 10, 2023," the statement said.
"It is now learned that the MHA expressed some concerns on Delhi government's budget and refused to give it approval through a letter sent to the Chief Secretary on March 17, 2023. For mysterious reasons, the Chief Secretary of Delhi kept the letter hidden for 3 days. I learned about the letter only at 2 pm today i.e. 20 March 2023. The file with MHA's letter was put up to me officially only at 6 pm today i.e. just the day before the budget was to be presented in Delhi Assembly," Gahlot claimed.
Gahlot said that the government responded to MHA's concerns and submitted the file back to Delhi's LG, after CM's approval, at 9 pm today.
Howver, the Delhi LG office said that the file was recieved in LG Sectariat at 9:25 PM and was sent back to the Chief Minister at 10:05 PM, after approval of LG, for further action as per law.
The Minister further called for the investigation of the role of Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary of Delhi in "delaying Delhi's budget".
"It is also unfortunate that MHA is spreading falsehoods about Delhi government's budget. Nearly Rs 22,000 crores have been allocated for capital expenditure next year, whereas the allocation for advertisements is only Rs 550 crore, which is similar to that of last year. The concerns raised by MHA are irrelevant and seemingly done only to scuttle the budget for next year of Delhi government," he alleged.
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. (ANI)