Puducherry Assembly adjourned without passing Budget

The government is heading for a financial crisis with the Assembly adjourning sine die on Thursday without passing the Budget for 2018-19.

After the House passed government resolutions, Speaker V. Vaithilingam said Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi had not given her assent for presenting the Appropriation Bill, which authorises the government to spend money for this financial year.

The Chief Minister told presspersons that passing of the Bill would only authorise the government to draw funds to meet its expenditure. “The budget has been presented and the key to passing the budget is the presentation of the Appropriation Bill. If the budget is not passed, even salary could not be given to employees for the next month,” Mr. Vaithilingam said.

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy told The Hindu that he had sent the file to the Lt. Governor seeking her assent to present the Bill in the Assembly three days ago. “She had returned the file seeking clarifications. The queries were addressed and then she wrote back saying it is under her active examination. I don’t know the intention of the administrator,” the Chief Minister said.

Shadow over salaries

The government had to pass the Budget to even provide salary to the government employees. Passing the Appropriation Bill was a routine legislative business. The Union Territory had never faced such a situation, he said. “She has to give her assent for presenting the Bill before the end of this month. Otherwise, there will be a financial crisis. If there is a financial crisis, the administrator will be held responsible for it,” Mr. Narayanasamy said.

Later in the evening, addressing a press conference, the Chief Minister said: “I am not sure whether she has taken the decision (not to give her assent for the bill) independently or at the behest of someone else. Her style of functioning gives an impression that she was acting on behalf of the BJP,” he said.

Bedi’s stand

Lt Governor Kiran Bedi said: “Instead of blaming anyone, they should make public the letter received from the administrator. They are approved to be in session till July 26 but they have foreclosed on July 19.”’

The Chief Minister on July 2 had presented a budget of ₹7, 530 crore for the 2018-19 fiscal. In the last 13 days, demands for various departments were presented and passed after legislators debated on motions moved by the respective Ministers.

From April, the financial affairs of the Union Territory were managed with funds sanctioned by the House after the government sought a vote-on-account of ₹2,466 crore during a one-day session in March.

With the expenditure sanctioned only till July, the House was reconvened on June 4 to present a full budget but was adjourned sine die minutes after a last minute communication from the Union Home Ministry on the budget. The clarification was related to grant-in-aid for Centrally sponsored schemes.

Finally, the Ministry of Home Affairs gave its approval on June 18 clearing the decks for presenting the Budget in the Assembly. The Assembly was again reconvened on July 2 to pass a full-fledged budget.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 12:05:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-assembly-adjourned-without-passing-budget/article24465755.ece

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