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Ex-BJP chief minister's allegation 'forces' Gujarat govt to upload crucial budget papers

By Our Representative 

In a surprise move, hours after former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta accused the Gujarat government for “deliberately refusing to place” four major budget documents while presenting the budget for 2023-24 in the state assembly on February 24, the state finance department swiftly acted to upload each of them on its website.
Mehta’s allegation went viral immediately on Gujarati television media as also social media, apparently forcing the state officials to act.
The documents which Mehta, talking with media in the forenoon, said had still not been released for uploading are: Mid Term Expenditure Framework, Development Programme, Outcome Budget and Gender Budget. The veteran leader, who was Gujarat chief minister in 1995-96, and resigned from the BJP in 2007 following differences with then CM Narendra Modi, claimed, the documents had not been uploaded “deliberately” to hide crucial figures from being known.
Sources said, last year, too, some of the documents were uploaded only after a senior Ahmedabad-based expert and budget analyst Mahendra Jethamlani brought to the notice of the state officials about the omission.
“We received a similar feedback this year, too, and asked officials concerned to upload the documents. It wasn’t our intention hide facts”, an state official said.
Also present at the media conference with Mehta, Hemant Shah, former professor of economics at the Gujarat University, and environment expert Mahesh Pandya, claimed to Counterview, this “suggests we were able to make an impact, forcing the state government to upload the omitted documents on its finance department website.”
“These documents should have been placed on the very first day when the state government presented the budget in the Gujarat assembly, February 24, as was the case in the past”, Shah and Pandya underlined, adding, “That they did not upload the documents for a week till Suresh Mehta made serious allegations suggests their motive.”
Mehta told media that there is “nothing unusual” about hiding crucial documents having facts and figures about development work of the state government from public view. “The state government has been operating without any kind of transparently for the last several years”, he alleged.

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