Secrecy in Budget Making Should be Abolished – This is an era of transparency. Until now, those who form the budget are locked… for 10 days.
During an orientation session on the making of the state budget in the Delhi Assembly Tuesday, former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha advocated abolishing the Secrecy in Budget Making.
“This is an era of transparency. Until now, those who form the budget are locked… for 10 days… They are disconnected from outer world so that the budget proposals are not leaked,” said Sinha.
He said that instead of maintaining secrecy in budget making, government should table the proposals before Parliament and they should be implemented once they are passed.
Sinha also responded to queries by AAP MLAs on the 2016-17 Union Budget. While urging the media not to read too much into his session with the MLAs, Sinha spoke about the lesser powers of the Rajya Sabha when it came to passing bills.
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti said, “Our finance minister is from the Rajya Sabha but he has not been elected by the people.”
Sinha responded, “The Rajya Sabha has its own special rights. The Constitutional founders did the right thing by giving elected members the powers to make monetary decisions. In England, the House of Commons fought against the House of lords and kings. We are a parliamentary democracy. We had a Prime Minister who remained in power for 10 years without contesting elections. Members of both houses are eligible to be ministers. This is a provision given by the constitutional founders.”
Asked if the Aadhaar Bill was deliberately made a money bill to bypass the Rajya Sabha, Sinha said if one started to challenge the rulings of the speaker, then the “structure would collapse”. “The speaker has few rights… If a decision is to be made by the speaker, the house will be abide by it no questions asked. Did you ever question the speaker’s ruling in the house? The Lok Sabha speaker decided to make it a money bill and that is the end of the debate,” he said.
Secretary of the Assembly Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara also questioned Sinha on the Centre’s attempt to tax Provident Fund withdrawals. Sinha said, “Think of a person… who spends all his money and goes bankrupt. If he is taxed for withdrawing his PF, at least 60 per cent of his savings would get invested or saved. Thus, he will invest or use it wisely. The government could not make people understandable this and had to withdraw the proposal due to protests.”
The MLAs also alleged that the Centre had allowed Vijay Mallya to leave the country. “If poor farmers are unable to repay loans, they commit suicide whereas rich people run out of the country,” said AAP MLA Rakhi Birla while asking for Sinha’s opinion on it.
Sinha said, “Koi pakda jaata hai, koi bhaag jaata hai (Few get caught while few get away). But we should know that no one can escape from the law… If you have taken a loan, you need to repay it for banks to survive, whether you are poor or rich.”
Need formal platforms to interact with public: Sisodia Deputy Chief Minister and Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia Tuesday said he comes from the “poetry” side of budget-making while officials of the finance department were from the “hardware side”. Sisodia also said formal platforms need to be developed to facilitate interaction between legislators and the public. “Informally, whoever is public-oriented will meet people but there are no formal platforms,” he said.
Source: Indian Express