June 2016 News

Major Embarrassment For Govt, Speaker Puts Budget Proposals On Hold

1 June 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: In a major embarrassment for the State Government, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, today directed the Government to put on hold the implementation of various proposals made in the budget for 2016-17 after opposition leader and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, objected to it, saying the Legislative Assembly had not approved the proposals yet and the SROs can't be issued. The Speaker directed the Government to put on hold the orders for implementation of budget proposals till they are passed by the House. 'The SROs issued by the Finance Department after tabling the Budget in the House should be withdrawn', he directed. Soon after the presentation of the Budget in the Legislative Assembly and Council, the Finance Department issued orders for the implementation of the Budget proposals even as the discussion on the budget was yet to take place and proposals were not approved by the Assembly and Council. The directions of putting on hold the implementation of budget proposals were issued by the Speaker after former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, took up the matter as soon as the Assembly began this morning. The entire opposition objected to the issuance of the SROs by Finance Department before the passing of budget and causing uproar. Omar said the budget proposals have been implemented by the Government even as the House was still holding general discussion on these proposals. Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said it is an established practice in the State and the Centre that notifications are issued after budget presentation. 'If there is any discomfort on this account, we will put these orders on hold,' he added. However, in Jammu and Kashmir, there is no such practice of issuing such notification before the Budget is passed by the Legislative Assembly and Council and this has been done for the first time. 'The discussion on the budget is still going on and I am astonished that the taxes have already been implemented. What is the use of discussing the budget here? You could have waited for three more days and then issued the orders. What are we doing here? If you want to do this, we can go home and to our constituencies. We want justice', said Omar in the Assembly. The former Chief Minister said that no doubt the Government has numbers and they can pass the budget anyway but opposition could have given some good suggestions. 'We know you have the numbers and you will pass the budget anyway. But there could have come some good suggestion from here,' said the former Chief Minister. The NC leader said the orders for implementation of the budget proposals were issued by the Government the same day the Finance Minister made his speech in the House. 'It is the contempt of this House. This House cannot be taken for granted. You (Speaker) do not have to protect the Government all the time. You have to protect this House also,' he said. Congress members led by Nawang Rigzin Jora also questioned the rationale of passing the implementation orders when the discussions had not been completed and the House was yet to approve the proposals. 'What are we discussing? Why are we discussing it?', he asked. Congress MLA, G M Saroori said: 'When discussion is over and budget is finalized and then only SROs can be issued.' MLA Pawan Gupta also raised the issue of SROs and said that 'there is no point of discussions on the budget after this. 'Why are we discussing it', he said. BJP president and MLA Satpal Sharma also joined the opposition in opposing the move. 'While this is an established practice at the Centre, Jammu and Kashmir has a special status due to which even laws passed by the Parliament are discussed and debated in the State Assembly. I agree with my friends (pointing to opposition benches) that these orders should be withdrawn till budget is approved by the House,' he said.