Maharashtra's budget session started on Monday with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's speech. Among the various slogans being shouted during his visit to legislative building, one was about the demand of clearing the Centre’s dues to the state, which the MLAs and MLCs from treasury benches were asking for. "GST ka paisa do", "Maharashtra pe anyay mat karo" were few of the slogans being raised by the lawmakers.
According to the state's finance ministry, exactly Rs 80,164 crore has been pending with the Union government. This includes -
• Share for Central GST - Rs 20,860 cr
• Compensation for GST - Rs 29,290 cr
• Pending financial assistance in subsidiaries - Rs 20,160 cr
• State's fund apart from tax - Rs 9054 cr
• Anganwadi scheme assistance - Rs 539 cr
• Special assistance from central - Rs 56 vr
• Central assistance under article 275(1) - Rs 50 cr
• Post matric scholarship - Rs 148 cr
• PVTG subsidy - Rs 7.50 cr
So, the total pending amount with the Union government has gone over Rs 80 thousand crores. This excludes the pending financial assistance for various schemes of the tribal development department and the skill development department. But the exact due amount for these two departments was not with the state finance ministry at the time of publishing this report.
"Maharashtra is the highest tax generating state of India, but in return it gets only 5.2% out of the total collection. The share structure is decided by the 14th finance commission. Despite less share, the Union government is not clearing the pending amount," said a senior officer in the state finance ministry.
Maharashtra has seen major fall in tax collections for the first two quarters of financial year 2020-21. It was expecting to collect Rs 1,07,000 crore but could collect only Rs 74,000 crore. The situation improved in the third quarter of FY 2020-21 but the shortfall in budget is still around Rs 48,000 crore. With this situation, the state was expecting the Union government to release the fund. But out of Rs 48,000 crore, as state share into Central GST, Maharashtra has received only Rs 27,000 crore.
On the other side, the state's debt is rapidly increasing. Maharashtra has a debt of Rs 5,84,000 crore directly and the state-run corporation has a debt of more than Rs 2 lakh crore.
Meanwhile, the ruling MVA alliance partners see this pendency of funds as a conspiracy to choke Maharashtra. "The BJP is still failing to digest that it has lost power in Maharashtra. That's why it is vindictively stopping the money of Maharashtra. It’s so that the MVA would not be able to do any developmental work and people would be angry with us. This is unethical and grossly unconstitutional," said Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik.
But the BJP refuted these allegations. "The MVA leaders have a habit of not taking responsibility of their failure in governance. So, they are looking for excuses," said senior BJP MLA Ashish Shelar.
The budget for 2021-22 will be presented on March 8 and the economic survey will be tabled on March 7. The clear picture of the state finances is expected to come to the fore through this survey. But the indications are clear that the so-called rich state of India is now struggling to manage its finances.