Gujarat Assembly's five-day budget session began here on Monday with legislators, cutting across party lines, paying homage to 40 CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack. The Vijay Rupani government will, however, present only a Vote-on-Account instead of full-scale budget in the session.
After Governor O.P. Kohli's address, the House was later adjourned for the day to pay respect to the martyrs. The legislators of the ruling BJP and opposition Congress also paid tributes to former MLAs who had passed away since the previous monsoon session. Finance Minister Nitin Patel will present a Vote-on-Account on Tuesday, while several bills are also expected to be tabled during the session.
As Lok Sabha elections will be held in April or May, the state government has preferred a Vote-on-Account instead of a full-fledged budget. A senior official said, "The government is going to put the budget estimates for expenditure which would be incurred during the next three or four months. After the formation of the new government at the Centre, the government will come out with a full budget."
During the five-day session, the government will present the Gujarat Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2019, providing for shops and eateries to remain open for 24 hours. Among other bills, the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill 2019, will be tabled to empower municipal corporations in the state to directly recruit officers of the level of deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners, the powers for which at present are vested with the state government.
The government will also present the Gujarat Housing Board Amendment Bill 2019, which envisages mandatory consent of at least 75 per cent of the owners and occupants of dilapidated buildings before such structures are taken up for redevelopment. The next four days are expected to be stormy as the opposition Congress braces to put the BJP government on the mat over various issues like unemployment, farmers issues, law and order situation, health issues like alarming levels of swine flu, education-related issues and grievances of hundreds of employees on fixed pay wages.
(With inputs from agencies.)