Maha Budget focuses on the rural sector

Sakal Times
Friday, 9 March 2018

Mumbai: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the State’s budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly with an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 15,374 crore on Friday. The total estimated deficit is 50,585.84 crore. As the State is facing a severe financial crunch, the Finance Minister (FM) chose to not make any big ticket infrastructure announcement for the State barring agriculture, water resource and skill development sectors.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the State’s budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly with an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 15,374 crore on Friday. The total estimated deficit is 50,585.84 crore. As the State is facing a severe financial crunch, the Finance Minister (FM) chose to not make any big ticket infrastructure announcement for the State barring agriculture, water resource and skill development sectors.

Perhaps, this is the first budget in the history of the State which has crossed the revenue deficit at such a high level which is not considered good for the healthy economy.

The budget showed an increase in the revenue receipts of 2017-19 as Rs 2,57,604 crore, as against estimated Rs 2,43,737 crore. The expenditure has gone up against the expected expenditure of Rs 2,48,248.74 crore. The budget having a projected a revenue mobilisation of Rs 2,85,967.96  crore against a revenue expenditure of Rs 3,01,342.86 crore. 

The State Budget is focused on creating infrastructure, agriculture and employment generation.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared that the Indian economy should expand to USD 5 trillion by 2025. We envision that the share of Maharashtra in the national economy to be USD 1 trillion. This will be achieved by increasing growth in sectors like agriculture, textiles, tourism, start-ups and by investing in the industry with requisite skill development support,” Mungantiwar said while presenting his fourth State budget.

He said the State has made continuous efforts to increase its investment in the agricultural sector and announced an allocation of Rs 8,233 crore for the Water Resources Department. “The government is continuously investing in the agricultural sector for last few years, as result of it this in 2016-17 our State produced 17,230 tonnes products of foodgrains and in 2017-18 the foodgrain production was 13,283 tonnes,” Mungantiwar said.

He added that the plan expenditure for 2018-19 has increased by 23.08 per cent or by Rs 17,816 crore to Rs 95,000 crore as compared to Rs 77,184 crore in 2017-18. 

While presenting the budget the government tried to minimise the deficit by reducing avoidable expenditure and effective recovery of revenue. The government has made a provision of Rs 10,828 crore for road development in the State and has planned to spend Rs 7,235 crore on setting up power infrastructure. But the capital investment this year is not beyond 10 per cent of the total outlay of the budget. 

After implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST), the number of taxpayers in Maharashtra from July 1 last year has increased significantly by 5.32 lakh to 13.62 lakh and the revenue collected under GST was Rs 45,886 crore.  

The government is planning a network of Metros in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur megacities. In Nagpur and Pune, the metro project has been started worth Rs 20,100 crore and the network is 69.30 kilometre and there is a provision of a loan of Rs 90 crore. The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Corporation (PMRDA) is going to construct 23.30 kilometres of the metro by spending Rs 8,313 crore. The project will be implemented under public-private partnership (PPP), where the Central government has agreed to give Rs 1,300 crore as a gap viability fund.

The FM announced a welfare board for auto-rickshaw drivers in the State. To increase the State’s share in UPSC, banking and other competitive exams, the government has decided to set up one coaching centre in each district and Rs 50 crore allocated for the purpose. 

Mungantiwar said due to implementation of the GST, the government had to bear a financial burden of Rs 11,804 crore in the form of compensation disbursed to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other municipal bodies, which have lost revenue due to eradication of octroi and local body taxes. While Rs 5,826 crore was provided as compensation to the BMC, the rest was disbursed to other local municipal bodies. 

Former finance minister Jayant Patil said there is very less allocation for every sector in this budget. “It clearly shows that the fiscal situation of the State has worsened. There is less than 10 per cent allocation for capital expenditure, which will affect badly the state’s economy, as we are not going to create assets during this year,” he said. 

Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the government has disappointed citizens by giving them a big zero through the budget. Former speaker Dilip Walse-Patil said the FM has to explain facts as the economic survey released on Thursday showed the financial condition of the State is not good. 

“The growth in the agricultural sector was shown negative in that survey. The FM has to explain all these aspects while presenting the budget,” Walse-Patil said. 

Highlights of Budget 2018-19
† Rs 8,233 crore allocated for irrigation projects
† Rs 8,230 crore allotted for agriculture
† Rs 10,800 crore allocated for building roads 
† Rs 770 crore allotted for the renewable energy plan 
† The deficit in revenue is expected to be Rs 15,375 crore
† Mahasamadhan, a toll-free helpline for farmers, to be set up. It will give information and advice to farmers.
† Rs 18 crore to reduce man-animal conflict and to make food and water available for the animals
† Rs 1,526 crore for treatment of solid waste in cities across the State
† Rs 335 crore for a new sewage treatment scheme for rural areas
† Rs 13,385 crore for home department. Funds also to be used for modernisation and upgradation of the police force
† Rs 10,828 crore for road repairs and reconstruction
† Rs 2,963 crore for VJNT development
10 lakh youths will be trained in 5 years under skill development
† Rs 40 crore for repair and reconstruction of ST bus depots across the State
† Rs 750 crore to ensure regular power supply for agricultural water pumps
† Rs 1,500 crore for ‘Jalyukt Shivar’ water conservation projects
† Rs 8,233 crore for Irrigation Department
† Rs 150 crore for Ambedkar memorial
† Rs 300 crore for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial statue

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