Its finally official. The taxpayer in Gujarat will pay for Chief Minister Narendra Modis Sadbhavana Mission,his campaign of fasts for communal harmony and brotherhood with a strong political flavour.
The Indian Express has learnt that the General Administration Department (GAD) planned for expenses related to the Mission as early as in November,passing two government resolutions instructing all department heads,district collectors and other authorities to debit these costs as accidental expense under the government’s exigency account number 8000.
The GR says,The bill should mention in red ink Contingency fund sanctioned under government memorandum… The expense will be later on transferred to supplementary budgetary demands under the head of ‘Sadbhavana Mission related programme (un-planned) expense and will be placed in the upcoming budget session for the approval of the assembly. District Collectors will be liable to answer any audit queries pertaining to their districts.
The budget session of the Gujarat Assembly begins on February 23.
The government has not been responsive to several attempts to know how much was being spent on the fasts and where the money would come from. Mahagujarat Janata Party president Gordhan Zadaphia had filed a request with Governor Kamla Beniwal,seeking details.
Modi began his Mission on his birthday on September 17,and announced 33 fasts covering every district. He did the 31st at Bavla yesterday,and will go to the Jain pilgrimage centre Palitana tomorrow.
A senior government official said the government had not yet calculated the total cost of the Mission. The expense differs from district to district,so it will take some more days to conclude the final figure. Some fasts are also pending… The final figure will be accounted under supplementary budget expense, the official said.
Sources said each fast is expected to have cost at least Rs 6-10 crore,and the total cost of all the fasts is likely to be around Rs 300 crore. The Congress says the bill could be three times more.
Asked about the GAD GRs,state government spokesperson and Minister of State (Finance) Saurabh Patel said,I am not aware of any such order of grant allocation from the FD or GAD. It may be an administrative decision.