MUMBAI: Presenting a Rs 9,511 crore deficit budget for 2020-2021, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday hiked VAT on petrol/diesel by Re 1 per litre to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 1,800 crore for the cash-starved state coffers. Presenting the maiden budget of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress Maha Vikas Aghadi government as it completed 100 days in office, Pawar, who holds the Finance portfolio, said that the additional amount would go towards creation of a special 'Green Fund' which would be used for environment conservation and projects of sewage disposal, and waste management. Simultaneously, he announced concessions for two years in stamp duty for registration of documents which is expected to breathe new life into the ailing realty sector in Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur. The duty will be down by 1 percent from existing 6 percent to 5 percent in these areas and would give a fillip to the construction sector. Pawar's budget estimates a total of Rs 4.34 lakh crore would flow into the state kitty from various capital accounts of which 5.184 per cent will be from the state's own taxes and 4.72 percent from non-tax sources. The state's share in Central raxes was 11.08 percent while its internal debt stood at 18.57 percent and spending on salaries, pensions and other aspects was at 55.11 percent. The state's shortfall from CGST was Rs 2,221 crore and SGST was Rs 16,290 crore, besides Rs 1,565 crore of taxes other than Corporate Tax and Rs 375 crore from Customs Duty. While Pawar presented the State Budget 2020-2021 in the Assembly, Minister of State for Finance Shambhuraje Desai tabled it in the Council. Pawar said that there has been a decline in the Central funds allocated to the state by Rs 8,453 crore, but despite the funds crunch and economic slowdown, the government has provided funds for key sectors like employment generation, health, irrigation development, tourism, urban and rural infrastructure projects, and made provisions for the agriculture and education sectors.
On the health front, he proposed an outlay of Rs 5,000 crore, of which 50 percent will be set aside for medical education like construction of new hospitals, revamping existing hospitals, and medical colleges, buying new ambulances, etc. An amount of Rs 1,000 crore will be spent on revamping all roads leading to major urban markets in all cities in the state, and Rs 1,300 crore for higher and technical education. The state has made an additional provision for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkar Sanman Yojana-2017 and the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjamukti Yojana-2019, besides additional provision of Rs 1,388 crore for farmers' assistance under various other schemes. The budget has earmarked Rs 22,000 crore for the MJPSKY being currently implemented, along with an incentive of Rs 50,000 to those farmers who have been judiciously repaying their loans. Besides promising to hike the loan waiver limits from the current threshold of Rs 200,000 and making it applicable to all farmers till March 2019, Pawar said a whopping 500,000 solar power pumps would be distributed to farmers in the next five years. Among the other highlights, he announced an outlay of Rs 150 crore for the 'Shiv Bhojan Thali' scheme which will now cater to 100,000 people daily. He proposed an international tourism hub, including a world-class aquarium, on a 14-acre plot at Worli, the constituency of Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray. He announced an outlay of Rs 100 crore per annum for tourism development in Mumbai for five years, developing the Haji Ali mausoleum, and other tourism related projects at hill stations, beaches and tourist destinations around the state with an outlay of Rs 1,400 crore. Pawar allocated Rs 1,657 crore for various ongoing Metro Rail projects in the state for next year and also announced two new Metro lines for Pune - Shivajinagar-Shevalevadi and Man-Pirangut. He also announced extending the Vanaj-Ramwadi line to Chandni Chowk and Wagholi in both directions, extending the Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate line to Katraj and Nigdi in both directions. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP ministers Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Chhagan Bhujbal, and Congress ministers Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan, and others hailed the budget, while the Leader Of Opposition in Assembly Devendra Fadnavis and Leader of Opposition in Council Pravin Darekar strongly criticized the budget on various counts.
March 07, 2020