In Sisodia's absence, Gehlot to present Delhi budget this month
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government is slated to present its budget for the financial year 2023-24 on March 21. This budget will be significant since it will be presented by Delhi's newly-appointed Finance Minister Kailash Gehlot after the resignation of former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia following his arrest. Gehlot promised the budget would be "citizen-centric, progressive, and a milestone" for Delhi.
Why does this story matter?
- The development comes amid concerns the arrest of Sisodia—who formerly held the Finance portfolio—may have an impact on the formulation of the Delhi government's budget.
- Reportedly, Gehlot attended multiple budget-related meetings with Sisodia days before his arrest, as the AAP had speculated the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) action.
- If Sisodia is granted bail, he may present the budget; otherwise, Gehlot will do so.
Delhi Assembly Budget Session will begin on March 17
The Delhi Assembly's Budget Session will likely commence on March 17, followed by the tabling of the Outcome Budget and Economic Survey the next day. Later, the Budget 2023-24 is expected to be presented formally on March 21. Notably, this will be the first time that the AAP will present the Delhi budget without Sisodia since it came to power in 2015.
Gehlot assures Delhi budget will be citizen-centric, progressive
Gehlot recently took charge of most of the key portfolios that Sisodia earlier held, including Finance, Planning, Public Works Department (PWD), Power, Home, Urban Development, Irrigation and Flood Control, and Water, among others. He assured that the budget would be "citizen-centric, progressive," and "people friendly." Gehlot also said it would prove to be a "milestone" budget in making Delhi a "world-class city."
Speculation of jeopardy following Sisodia's arrest
Earlier, with the arrest of Sisodia in the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam case, it was speculated that the preparation of the Delhi government's budget would likely be affected as he held the Finance portfolio. However, during the finalization of allocations and programs in various sectors under the budget, the AAP reportedly started involving Gehlot in the process, probably speculating on Sisodia's arrest.
Sisodia presented 'Rozgar Budget' last year
In 2022, Sisodia presented the Rs. 75,800 crore Delhi budget. Notably, the budget size for 2022-23 was 9.86% higher than the Rs. 69,000 crore 2021-22 budget. That was the eighth consecutive budget of the AAP government, and Sisodia had termed it a "Rozgar Budget" for it aimed to introduce lakhs of jobs and employment-oriented schemes.