Work on budget for capital begins

The Delhi government’s finance department has started the ground work to prepare a budget for financial year 2014-15. The move is aimed at meeting contingencies in a scenario if a new government is not formed by next month.

The initiative will help the department to be ready with a budget proposal in case a need arises to get it passed along with the union budget in Parliament. 

The current financial proposal for Delhi, passed by Parliament in February, is valid for six months starting April.

In the hung Assembly, no party has a clear majority and chances of government formation through a coalition seem remote. Sources in the finance department said they were expecting that the capital’s budget will be  passed by the new Parliament which will be constituted after May 16 results of Lok Sabha elections.

After the Arvind Kejriwal government quit in February, the vote-on-account for the city was hurriedly prepared and got Parliament's approval.

Officials in the Delhi government denied rumors that the administrative machinery was battling a financial crunch due to absence of an elected government. 

“The Delhi government has funds to function till September but the financial proposal will again have to be sent to Parliament if no government is formed in May,” said a finance department official.

Delhi’s budget would have to be passed along with the Central government’s budget after the formation of a new Union government, he said. 

“If an elected government is formed in the city next month, the budget proposal being made by our officials will be presented in the Assembly, otherwise it would be sent to Parliament,” said an official.

The absence of an elected government and the city’s dependence on a vote-on-account passed in February started taking a toll on new projects, said an official in the finance department. “We are now preparing financial proposal for a scenario that can take care of the funds flow even if a new elected government is not formed.” 

 Soon after the Kejriwal government’s exit, the officials tried to get a provisional budget proposal passed through an ordinance issued by President Pranab Mukherjee. But the Union finance ministry opposed the suggestion and directed Delhi bureaucrats to prepare a vote-on-account proposal and get is approved by parliament.

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