Guwahati, Aug 13: Pointing out the absence of state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during the passage of Assam Budget, former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said all ministers should be present when important documents like finance bills are presented.
In absence of Sarma, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary introduced the Assam Appropriation (No. IV) Bill, 2016, which was later passed by the Assembly.
Raising the matter, Mahanta of AGP, which is a part of the ruling BJP-led coalition, said it was a tradition that the Finance Minister himself presented all finance bills.
"The tradition was that the Finance Minister introduced all finance bills. But, this tradition changed after Tarun Gogoi became the chief minister in 2001.
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He held the finance portfolio, but health did not permit him to raise or reply to all finance related matters in the Assembly," Mahanta said.
He said it was desirable that not just all MLAs, all ministers should also be present when the state Budget or other important bills were passed in the Assembly. Opposition Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque supported Mahanta's contention.