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Incorrect to blame Centre, says Anurag Thakur on Delhi Budget observations

New Delhi: Union minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday said that it was incorrect on the part of Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi NCT administration to blame the central government for the annual Budget of the national capital for something which he said "was pending in the hands of Delhi government."
Delhi's Budget 2023-24was supposed to have been presented by finance minister Kailash Gehlot in the Delhi Assembly today but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday alleged that the Ministry of Home Affairs had stalled it. Certain observations were made by the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on the Budget after which the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday requested the AAP-led Delhi government to resubmit the Budget addressing these concerns.
"Delhi LG approved Annual Budget for 2023-24 with certain observations and sent the file to the chief minister. Now Delhi government has sent the file to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval of President. MHA has conveyed its observations to the Delhi Government and has been waiting for the reply since March 17," Thakur said.
Notably, Delhi's Budget goes to the Home Ministry for approval and can be presented in the Delhi Assembly only when the MHA approves the Budget.
A reply from the Delhi Government has been awaited for the last four days, said the MHA.
"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.
The Delhi government should submit the reply immediately for the benefit of the people of Delhi, said the Union Home Ministry.
Meanwhile, Delhi finance minister Kailash Gahlot said for the first time in India's history, the home ministry has stopped the Delhi government from presenting its annual budget.
"For the first time in India's history, the MHA has stopped the Delhi government from presenting its annual budget for 2023-24 on its scheduled date, 21 March 2023. The budget was sent for MHA's approval as per regular practice well in advance on 10 March 2023," Gahlot said in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.
"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 2023. For mysterious reasons, the Chief Secretary of Delhi kept the letter hidden for 3 days. I learned about the letter only at 2pm today i.e. 20 March 2023," he added.
"The file with MI-4A's letter was put up to me officially only at 6pm today i.e. just the day before the budget was to be presented in Delhi Assembly. Subsequently, we have responded to MHA's concerns and submitted the file back to Delhi's LG. after CM's approval, at 9pm today.
The role of the Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary of Delhi in delaying Delhi's budget ought to be investigated."
"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 further alleged in the statement.
The Delhi administration on Monday tabled in the Assembly the Status Report of Outcome Budget and Economic Survey for 2022-23.
The Economic Survey document showed that the advance estimate of Per Capita Income of Delhi at current prices during 2022-23 is seen at Rs 444,768, registering a growth of 14.18 per cent over the previous year.
The Economic Survey typically details the progress of various departments along with the statistics related to the economy of the state. The annual document is prepared every year and presented in the Budget Session before the Legislature.
Delhi's Per Capita Income was always been around 2.6 times higher when compared to national average, both at current and constant prices, the survey said.
The Economy Survey also typically gives some idea about the tone and texture of the actual Budget for 2023-24, which is typically presented a day before Budget day.
Further, the survey said Delhi, being predominant as a service sector, has a share of contribution to Gross State Value Added (at current prices) at 84.84 per cent during 2022-23 followed by a contribution of Secondary Sector (12.53 per cent) and Primary Sector (2.63 per cent).
"The tertiary (or service) sector plays a pivotal role in the state economy both in terms of employment generation and contribution to state income," the Economic Survey for 2022-23 said.
Regarding GDP size, the survey said the Advance Estimate of GSDP of Delhi at current prices during 2022-23 is likely to attain a level of Rs 1,043,759 crore which is at a growth of 15.38 per cent over 2021-22.
With the economy returning to normalcy brought closer by the successful mega vaccination drive in Delhi, hopes of a robust recovery in the services sector, consumption, and investment have been rekindled.
"Overall economic activity in Delhi has recovered more faster compared to national past the pre-pandemic levels. In the years 2021-22 and 2022-23, a sharp recovery of real GSDP of Delhi with growth of 9.14 per cent and 9.18 per cent respectively is based on a low base effect and inherent strengths of the economy," the survey said.
The Outcome Budget 2022-23 covers 23 major departments under which, major programmes and schemes were identified and key output and progress indicators were defined against each of them.
"Our government is the first to start the outcome budget. We keep our report card in front of the public and we track each flagship scheme through two indicators, the Output Indicator and the Outcome Indicator," Delhi NCT finance minister Kailash Gahlot said yesterday. (ANI)

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