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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Congress: Provide Budget documents in printed form, key papers not given

Usually the annual Socio Economic Survey report, which is the most important source of statistical data, is made public along with the budget documents as per tradition, which was not done this time.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
March 11, 2021 4:23:09 am
Nitin Patel newsState health minister Nitin Patel, who reached Vadodara Saturday, held a meeting with officials and elected leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Circuit House to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the city (File)

Gujarat Congress on Wednesday demanded that they be provided printed copies of all the documents related to the state Budget, including Socio-Economic Survey, instead of its digital copies in a pen drive. Usually the annual Socio Economic Survey report, which is the most important source of statistical data, is made public along with the budget documents as per tradition, which was not done this time.

The demand was raised during the general discussion on the Budget by Congress MLA from Una Punja Vansh which was supported by other Congress MLAs like Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani and deputy leader of the party in the Assembly Shailesh Parmar.

Vansh had raised a Point of Information on the subject and stated that unlike the annual tradition being followed during the tabling of the Budget, this time the state government had not provided some important documents including Socio-Economic Survey and booklet on Outcome Budget.

Replying to this, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the documents were to be provided to the MLAs before the discussion on the Budget began. However, he added that it could not be provided due to technical reasons and that it will be provided to all the MLAs in pen drive in the second sitting of the House, on Wednesday.

There were two sittings of the House scheduled Wednesday.

“The issue raised by Punjabhai (Vansh) will be provided in pen drive to all (the MLAs) in the second sitting and all the publications are included in the same,” Patel said.

In reply, Parmar said, “In the last session of the Assembly too, we had stated that all the documents related to the Assembly must be given to us in a printed form… It is because the (deputy chief) minister has said that it will be given in a pen drive. Where do we use the pen drive and how? There is no computer or laptop on our desk (in the House). When something is to be referred to on the spot, we require a booklet or a computer.”

Contesting Parmar, Patel said, “The government’s decision (to provide the documents in a pen drive) is of all the parties. In the Committee on Estimates, your party’s MLAs are also member. All of them (members of the Committee on Estimates) had passed a resolution unanimously which was sent to the Speaker; and Finance Department has accepted the same…. Earlier also we had announced that if we do like this (provide documents in a digital format in a pen drive) then it will save papers and amount of Rs 90 lakh. You all had welcomed it. And the (samples of) printed publications will be provided in the office of the Leader of Opposition and Library (of the Assembly).”

However, Parmar said, “Honourable Speaker, we had a meeting in your office only and back then also we had opposed it and (said) that we do not want documents in pen drive.”

But, DyCM Patel replied, “There was a resolution of Committee on Estimates which was accepted by the Assembly. So, nothing more remains to be done in that.”

Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani reiterated demand put forth by Parmar and said, “If information is given in a pen drive then it will be difficult to cite references from it in the Assembly.”

Following this, DyCM Patel indulged in a small argument with Dhanani when the former said that the government cannot do expenditure on all fronts. Dhanani retorted that the government is doing lot of unnecessary expenses.

As the time of the session concluded, the Speaker Rajendra Trivedi ended the issue while saying, “The matter will be surely considered in future.”

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