Monsoon may have got delayed by a week in Maharashtra but the state’s people have experienced a rain of assurances via the budget presented by the Bharatiya Janata Party - Shiv Sena government on Tuesday, June 11. The budget, aiming to woo the votes of farmers, smaller OBC castes and tribals, was filled with schemes. The state is expecting a revenue deficit of Rs 20,282 crore in this financial year, which will be highest in the history of state. The total expenditure is expected to be Rs 3, 34, 933 crore while revenue is expected to be Rs 3,14,640 crore.
As Maharashtra is reeling under drought, Cabinet Minister for Finance in Maharashtra Sudhir Mungantiwar started his speech on the issue. He said that the state government has decided to put as much as possible money to eradicate drought from the state. He declared a total amount of Rs 12,597 crore for irrigation projects in the state. He also said that the central government has already given Rs 3,000 crore for 26 projects which are included under Pradhanmantri Krishi Saninchaki Yojana (PM-KSY). The state will raise its share of Rs 2,720 crore under PM-KSY this year. Apart from this, the state government has also kept Rs 8,946 crore for its flagship scheme, Jalyukta Shivar. This scheme of micro irrigation has been very controversial for the last two years in state as experts have raised serious questions over it.
On the industrial front, Mungantiwar said that the state government is aiming to get Rs 10 lakh crore as an investment through various means in the state. “We are expecting 60 lakh jobs creation. This will be through mega industry as well as small scale and medium scale industry,” elaborated Mungantiwar. He added, “The state is aiming to start 10 thousand new small-scale industrial units in this segment. The government has kept aside Rs 300 crore for this. Women, SCs, STs will be given priorities for starting their business under this scheme.”
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The state government has also stressed on improving urban infrastructure. The proposed Bandra Versova sea link has been given Rs 11,672 crore in this budget. The state’s Urban Development department will get Rs 35,000 crore as budget provision whereas, housing department will get Rs 7,000 crore.
The state government has also tried to woo smaller castes in OBC segment via schemes under Khadi Gramodyog. These communities will given Rs 100 crore for the loan proposals for smaller units. Also, OBC students will get hostels to stay at each district capital. The sub castes under BC category, Dhangar (Shepherd), who have a direct influence on almost 40 Assembly constituencies are also being targeted by the budget. An amount of Rs 1000 crore is provisioned under various schemes including hostels for students, social gathering halls, gymnasiums and others.
Meanwhile, state government has also decided to give Rs 150 crore for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Under this, various works for the rural economy will be undertaken.
While reacting on the budget, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called it ‘a document for development’. He said, “The fifth budget of his government reconfirms the commitment to the development of deprived sections of society as well as justice to all.” Whereas, Congress leader Pruthviraj Chavan called the budget as a last attempt of state government to woo the people ahead of elections. “When you present the budget with a deficit of Rs 20,000 crore, it is enough to say the condition of state’s economy,” said Chavan.
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During the budget presentation, opposition leaders such as Chavan, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and others alleged that the budget has already been leak through Twitter. “Even before the Finance Minister is speaking, his and others’ account of state government’s departments are tweeting about the contents of the budget. This is a clear cut case of leaking of budget which is a serious crime,” said Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar. CM Fadnavis denied the allegations saying that the modern technology is open and available for all. “I have taken brief about the issue raised and there is no substantial point into it. There is a gap of almost 15 minutes between each tweet and FM’s speech on every issue,” he clarified.