Belagavi session to cost a bomb, expenses estimated at Rs 31 cr

Legislature secretarait ciites price rise, GST for cost escalation

Belagavi session to cost a bomb, expenses estimated at Rs 31 cr

The legislature secretariat has sought a whopping Rs 31 crore from the state government to conduct the winter session in Belagavi, scheduled to start from November 13.  

This is almost double the amount that was collectively spent by the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council secretariat last year.  

In 2016, the secretariat had spent Rs 18.75 crore to conduct the session in Belagavi. This year, however, the secretariat has proposed an additional expenditure of Rs 13 crore, citing price rise and Goods and Services Tax (GST).  

This is over and  above the approved budget of Rs 18.25 crore by the Finance department.

The secretariat had recently come under flak for proposing an exorbitant budget of Rs 27 crore for conducting the diamond jubilee celebration of of the Vidhana Soudha. After much opposition, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had scaled down the budget to Rs 10 crore.

Legislative Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad told DH that the secretariat was incurring excess expenditure due to GST and "special arrangements" being made for this year's last session.

"The government has sanctioned Rs 21 crore. But, this will not be sufficient, as we are making special arrangements for a smooth functioning of the session. Hence, we have sought an additional budget. We have justified the reasons for seeking the amount. While GST will come as a huge burden, the Police department itself has sought Rs 4 crore to deploy its 5,500 personnel. Last year, we had paid the department Rs 1.50 crore," he added.

While Koliwad did not specify the exact additional amount sought, officials in the Finance department confirmed that the secretariat has sought Rs 13 crore, for making arrangements like accommodation, food, and security.

The department is, however, in no mood to sanction this amount. "Last year, the department had sanctioned Rs 18.75 crore. When we received the proposal, we worked out the GST component at a maximum of 28% and have given an approval for Rs 2.5 crore, which the chief minister has approved. The secretariat has not detailed the estimate - it has sought a lump sum amount," said official sources.

The Legislature secretariat, however, does not seem to be satisfied with this. Last week, it wrote another letter to the Finance department, asking it to reconsider the earlier proposal. It has said that the hotel room rents had skyrocketed, and was making the request on behest of the Belagavi district administration.




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