GUWAHATI: Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia on Friday slammed the government for uploading the state budget for 2020-21 fiscal on the finance department's website before being tabled in the House.
The Congress leader questioned how people can repose faith on the government which "cannot protect the secrecy" of the state budget.
"The state government is now engaging in a damage- control exercise but the question is how much confidence people can repose on a government which cannot protect the secrecy of such an important document," he said.
Hours before Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented the state budget for 2020-21 fiscal in the Assembly on Friday, his speech was uploaded on the official website of the department but pulled down later.
Saikia quoted First Secretary in first Lok Sabha M N Kaul and former Chief Election Commissioner S L Shakdher on 'Practice and Procedure of Parliament', saying that "the prevailing view is that until the financial proposals are placed before the House, they are an official secret.
"Though the leakage of the budget proposals may not constitute a breach of privilege of the House, Parliament has ample power to inquire into the conduct of a minister in suitable proceedings in relation to the leakage and the circumstances in which the leakage occurred." Saikia said it is unfortunate that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was present in the House on Friday, "did not attach any importance to this serious issue".
"On behalf of the Assam Congress Legislature Party, I demand an enquiry by an all-party House Committee into today's leakage of the budget and the committee should be empowered to recommend measures against those found responsible for this lapse," Saikia added.