Following a faux pas by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot while presenting the state’s Budget on Friday, the Assembly was adjourned for half-an-hour as members of the Opposition stormed the Well of the House in protest.
The Chief Minister, during the Assembly session, started reading parts of his government’s previous Budget, leading to protests by the BJP legislators. Speaker C P Joshi asked them to maintain order but the Opposition continued its uproar, leading to the House being adjourned for half-an-hour. After the adjournment, BJP MLAs staged a sit-in inside the well of the House.
The incident comes at a time when all eyes are on the Gehlot-led government, as this is his last Budget before the state goes to polls later this year. Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio, was presenting the budget on the theme of “Bachat, Rahat, Badhat” (saving, relief and progress).
Reacting to the incident, the Chief Minister said on Twitter: “BJP just wants to show that it is against the development and progress of Rajasthan. Its mind-boggling allegation that the budget was leaked shows that it will not leave the Budget out of petty politics. There is only one obstacle in ‘Bachat, Rahat, Badhat’ – BJP.”
In his address spanning three hours last year, Gehlot had barely left any sector or demographic untouched. Among the big-ticket schemes were the Indira Gandhi Shehri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana for urban areas, along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for rural areas.
“While MGNREGA assists people in rural areas, there is no such scheme for street vendors, as well as those working at dhabas and restaurants in urban areas,” Gehlot had said, announcing the urban employment scheme. Under this scheme, employment is provided for up to 100 in a year and the state government set aside Rs 800 crore for this. The scheme has since been implemented but has failed to pick up pace.
The second big announcement was implementation of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) for those appointed after January 1, 2004. Additionally, Gehlot had also announced an increase of man-days under MGNREGS from 100 to 125 days, at the cost of Rs 750 crore to the state exchequer. There was special focus on agriculture too, with the CM presenting its Budget separately, highlighting 11 areas within the sector to be taken up on “mission mode”.
Among other populist schemes, Gehlot had also announced mobile phones for women heads of 1.33 crore families who are covered under the Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Yojana. These smartphones would have internet connectivity for three years and the government would annually bear Rs 2,500 crore for this. However, no mobiles have been given under the scheme as yet.