The Economic Survey tabled by the Maharashtra government in the Assembly on Monday expects the state’s economy to grow by 7.5% in coming year. However, key sectors of the economy, led by agriculture and industry, have registered growth decline.
As per the survey, Maharashtra has set a $1 trillion target till 2025. But the numbers put out by survey do not back these expectations.
Agriculture has seen a huge setback, registering an 8% decline, as half of the state was reeling under drought last year. Last year, agri and related sectors grew at 3.15, which has fallen to 0.4% this year. The gross irrigated area to gross cropped area ratio was not provided in the survey for the seventh year in a row.
A largely industrial state, Maharashtra also saw a decline in the sector, with growth estimated to fall from 7.6% last year to around 6.9% this year.
The state’s finance minister Sudheer Mungantiwar, who tabled the survey, however defended it saying that investment in various sectors was underway and would reflect in next year's survey.
"The growth in trade, hospitality, communication, financial and professional services, public administration, defence and other services are estimated to rise when compared to 2017-18. This means jobs are being created in these sectors as well. Growth cannot be seen only through investment in select sectors," he said.
According to the survey, the service sector is also expected to grow. Last year, it grew at 8.1% but in the coming year it is expected to reach 9.2%. The manufacturing sector is also expected to be around 7.1% from 7.7% last year.
However, the Opposition has raised doubts on the numbers in survey. Dhananjay Munde, Opposition leader in Council, said that the habit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to “mislead” via numbers was known.
"Almost 110 economists and experts have said that Indian data related to GDP (gross domestic product) is suspicious. The ex-chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian, too, has said similar things. So, all the numbers need to be checked by people. We demand an all-party committee of both Houses to go through the numbers so that truth can be found," said Munde.
Interestingly, the finance minister also claimed generation of jobs in state. “The MSME sector has created some 57 lakh jobs. There has been an investment of Rs 1.16 lakh crore in this sector so far,” said Mungantiwar.
The Opposition has challenged this data, too. "57 lakh jobs being created in just one year and we are seeing highest ratio of unemployment in 45 years across India. This is very contradictory. The Maharashtra government need to be careful before claiming such figure," said former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan.
Maharashtra's per capita income was Rs 1,91,827, third behind Karnataka at Rs 2,07,062 and Andhra Pradesh's Rs 1,43,935, as per the state survey.
151 Talukas Hit by Drought
The Maharashtra government made available Rs 4909.50 crore for drought relief in 2018-19, the state Economic Survey said, adding that the total affected area was 85.76 lakh hectare spread over 151 talukas.
It said the scarcity situation during the Kharif season of the just-ended fiscal affected 151 talukas in 26 district, comprising 112 talukas which reeled under severe drought and 39 talukas that experienced moderate drought, according to PTI.
Further, during April 2018, some 5,094 hectare were affected by untimely rain and hailstorm, for which compensation of Rs 8.15 crore was sanctioned in December, the survey said.
In May last year, 1,741 hectare were affected by rain and hailstorm for which Rs 2.93 crore was sanctioned in December.
The survey stated that annual budget for agriculture and allied activities sectors in 2018-19 in the annual credit plan was Rs 85,464 crore.
On the agriculture credit front, it said, during 2017 -18, primary credit societies disbursed loans of Rs 14,573 crore to farmers. As on March 31, 2018, there were about 1.98 lakh co-operative societies with 5.17 crore members. Of these, 11% were in agriculture credit, 10% in non-agriculture credit and 79% were engaged in other activities, it said.
In all, 18.1% cooperative societies were in the red, 33.1% of these were engaged in agriculture credit.
During 2018-19, crop loan of Rs 31,282 crore was disbursed through financial institutions against Rs 25,322 crore during 2017-18.
During 2018-19, agriculture term loans amounting to Rs 36,632 crore was disbursed as against Rs 25,695 crore in 2017-18.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, raising doubts on the authenticity of figures in the survey, pointed out that agricultural growth rate had been revised by "almost 12%" in connection with the 2017-18 fiscal, a change he dubbed as "drastic".
"As per the Economic Survey of 2017-18, the estimated agriculture development rate was minus 8.3%. But in the Economic Survey report 2018-19, this has been revised to 3.4%. It is impossible to have such a big change of most 12%. The government should show proof of such drastic changes," the former CM said.
(With Inputs from PTI)