Home/ News / India/  Delhi budget presentation halted, Centre and AAP govt trade charges

The presentation of the budget for the Delhi government's fiscal year 2023-24, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been delayed. The reason for the delay is due to a dispute between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and the central government, with both parties accusing each other of mishandling the allocation of funds for various purposes.

During a News 18 programme on Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the central government of engaging in "gundagardi" (hooliganism) and claimed that it was unprecedented in the history of India for a government's budget to be delayed.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) shared a video clip of his remarks on Twitter.

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.

According to sources in the MHA, the budget had a high allocation for advertisement and relatively low funding for infrastructure and other development initiatives.

Arvind Kejriwal has criticized the Centre for halting the budget proposal, while the Delhi Finance Minister, Kailash Gahlot, has denied the accusations, stating that the total budget size was 78,800 crore, out of which 22,000 crore was allocated for infrastructure expenditure and only 550 crore for advertisements.

The situation remains tense, and it is unclear what steps the Delhi government or the MHA will take next.

In a statement, the MHA said, “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 17.03.2023 has requested GNCTD to resubmit the Budget addressing these concerns for taking further action. The reply from GNCTD is awaited for the last four days. For the benefit of the people of Delhi, the GNCTD should submit a reply immediately."

Gahlot in a separate report 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 17 March. For mysterious reasons, the Chief Secretary of Delhi kept the letter hidden for 3 days."

According to LG office sources, Saxena flagged that "as against proposed Budget size of 78,800 crore, the expenditure on Capital components is indicated at 21,816 crore, which is only 27.68%... Further, this also includes 5,586.92 crore on account of loan repayment, which, if excluded will further reduce the Capital component to 16,230 crore which is only 20% of the budget."

"Since Delhi is the country's capital and also a large metropolis in which the need for creation and improvements of infrastructure is extremely important, the allocation for Capital projects does not appear to be sufficient," the LG said.

"It is noted that expenditure incurred by the Directorate of Information & Publicity as per the Revised Estimate 2022-23 is 272.21 crore against the Budget Estimate of 511.64 crore. However, the allocation for the Budget Estimate 2023-24 is Rs. 557.24 crore, which seems incomprehensible and unjustifiable," he further said.

He claimed that the entire potential under various central schemes has not been fully utilised by Delhi.

"A case in example, the flagship scheme of ‘Ayushman Bharat’, has not yet been adopted by Delhi due to which CSS funds under health sector are not made available. The Union Territory needs to obtain all possible funds under Central Schemes to augment its resources and also to meet national goals," he said.

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.

On Monday, the Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot presented the outcome budget of the Kejriwal government and the economic survey for the year 2022-23.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: 21 Mar 2023, 03:30 PM IST
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