Pune: The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA), organised a screening and discussion session on the Maharashtra State Budget for the year 2018 which was presented by State Finance Minister (FM) Sudhir Munguntiwar on Friday. The overall reaction of the industry was that the budget is prudent, balanced but lacks novelty or innovation.
In his budget speech of 1.45 hours, the FM seemed to stress on the focus of the State government being on incentivising skills and entrepreneurship to generate employment. Amidst reports of industry slowdown and a decline in employment, the eyes of the industry were on the government offering some
The FM said the State will focus on start-ups and have a pro-active start-up policy. He announced 15 incubators and 35 seed funds which will be available to start-ups, estimated to provide Rs 5,000 crore worth of investments and might generate 5 lakh jobs. The State government seemed keen on pushing for Defence and Aerospace-based skill development. The State government will bear the GST for the registered start-ups.
Reacting to the budget, Deepak Shikarpur, IT industry veteran, said, “There seems to be a boost to technology and start-ups in the budget. But many of the announcements of the FM were already declared during the Magnetic Maharashtra conference. The start-ups should be utilised for e-governance push of the government. But there is no announcement for new industrial clusters or MIDC revival.”
The government announced an increase in the funds available for entrepreneurs from the Economically Backward Classes from Rs 50 crore to Rs 400 crore. The government announced a fund of Rs 4.28 crore to push research and impart skills in traditional handicrafts and a fund of Rs 10 crore for the clay and pottery industry.
“Overall, it is a mixed budget. The government knows it has a budget deficit of Rs 15,375 crore and it is prudent to not announce any major expenditure while broadening the tax base and revenue,” Chandrashekhar Chitale of MCCIA said, adding, “The more we spend on infrastructure, the more we benefit in the long term. Yet, the people were expecting relief to make housing affordable, but it was not seen.”
Chitale said the industry slowdown can be solved only by giving the industry enough incentive. “Demonetisation caused a huge slowdown in the industry. The atmosphere for growth in the private sector is lacking. What the industry needs is relaxation in the stiff labour laws. Industrial production is also hampered because of the dependence on the electric supply by the State electricity company. We suggested we be given the permission to generate our own electricity according to our need for quality of supply.”