Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday questioned the government over Rs 200 crore being set aside for assistance to Afghanistan, asking if it was correct to give funds to the Taliban-ruled country by 'slashing' Budgetary allocation for education, health and Delhi. Kejriwal also advised the government not to 'meddle' in others work while sharing a news report over differences between the Centre and the Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.
"Why does the Central government fight with everyone? With judges, Supreme Court, state governments, farmers and traders? The country will not progress by quarrelling with everyone. Do your job and let others do theirs. Don't interfere in others' work," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi. In another tweet, again citing a news report, Kejriwal questioned if it is "right to give funds to Taliban by cutting the funds of education, health and Delhi in the country? People are strongly opposing it."
The Centre in its budget for 2023-24, has set aside Rs 200 crore as assistance to the Taliban-ruled country. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been allocated a total of Rs 18,050 crore in the Union Budget for 2023-24 which is an increase of around 4.64 per cent over last year's allocation of Rs 17,250 crore. The total outlay included Rs 5,408 crore of development aid to various countries and over Rs 990 crore towards India's G20 Presidency.
In continuation with India's special relationship with the people of Afghanistan and unwavering commitment, budgetary aid to that country has been retained at Rs 200 crore.
The largest share of aid portfolio has been granted towards Bhutan with the allocation of Rs 2,400 crore, which constituted 41.04 per cent of the MEA's development assistance. Enhanced allocation of Rs 400 crore under aid to the Maldives has been made to meet the requirement of funds mainly towards ongoing projects such as Greater Male connectivity project and high impact community development project.
According to the budget document, Nepal will get development aid worth Rs 550 crore, Mauritius to receive Rs 460 crore while the amount for Myanmar has been pegged at Rs 400 crore. The AAP government in Delhi is involved in a running battle with the Centre-appointed Lt Governor over a range of governance and jurisdiction-related matters.
Last month, Kejriwal along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP MLAs marched to Raj Niwas over an alleged delay in approving his government's proposal to send school teachers to Finland for training. He also accused the Centre of using the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that recently filed a chargesheet in the liquor scam case in Delhi of using the agency to "topple governments and buy MLAs".
The Kejriwal government has challenged the GNCTD (Amendment) Act in the Supreme Court that gives more power to the LG in Delhi. The top court is yet to pronounce a decision. Kejriwal on Thursday criticised the GNCTD Amendment Act brought by the Centre in 2021 and hoped that the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional. The Constitution and the law state that LG is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. This means that the files should not go to the LG, he had said in a press conference.
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