Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy,
PUDUCHERRY: In an unprecedented move, the Puducherry government on Monday presented the budget for the financial year 2020-21 without the approval of the lieutenant governor (LG) and without the customary address of the LG.
Chief minister V Narayanasamy, who holds the finance portfolio, presented the budget after speaker of the legislative assembly V P Sivakolundhu cancelled lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi‘s address following a resolution passed by the House.
Bedi accused the government of failing to submit the annual finance statement (AFS) and demand for grants while seeking her approval to present the budget on July 20. She wrote to Narayanasamy on Sunday night insisting the government to submit the AFS and demand for grants and said she would fix a fresh date to present the budget.
“…I notice that you have not sent me the AFS and demand for grants as required under sections 27 and 28 of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963. You have merely sent me the inaugural address late in the evening today (July 19). This does not fulfil the approval given by me under Rule 7 of the Administrator’s Rule for Puducherry Legislative Assembly, 1963 appointing the day of presentation of the budget. This is a serious omission. Please send me the AFS and demand for grants for urgent and considered approval. I shall give a fresh date for delivering lieutenant governor’s address in the legislative assembly and for presenting the budget,” she said.
However, the council of ministers headed by chief minister were of the strong opinion that it was not necessary to send the budget file again to Bedi after the President and Union home ministry accorded approval for the budget.
“…the AFS (annual finance statement) has been duly recommended by the administrator (Bedi) and approved by the President…Hence the approval of the administrator for placing the AFS before the assembly does not arise and will be redundant. This practice has been followed in this Union territory for many decades,” Narayanasamy replied in a letter, which was delivered at 3.30am on Monday.
Narayanasamy further said other businesses like discussion on the budget and demand for grant would be taken up on different dates after the business advisory committee decides and issues a notification in this regard.
“…Legislative assembly secretariat has clearly informed that the date for the introduction of demand for grant and discussion of badger will be intimated after the approval of the business advisory committee…it is clearly understood that it is too early to seek for file regarding the demand for grants by the administrator as the approval for AFS itself was communicated to the Union territory of Puducherry only on July 16,” said Narayanasamy adding that recommendation of the administrator would be sought by the government after following the due procedures of introducing AFS in the legislative assembly.
Bedi responded to Narayanasamy’s letter arguing that the budget should be presented in the legislative assembly after the government “firms up its proposed expenditure for the year.”
“Without firming up the demand for grants, the question of presenting budget does not arise. Therefore, only after getting approval under Section 28 (3) of the UT Act, the budget can be presented,” she said.