Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar sets budget 2021-22 with an estimated deficit of Rs 10,000 Cr. before
Mumbai: While the Maharashtra government is struggling with finances, State Finance Minister Ajit Pawar presented the budget for 2021-22 on Monday. He tried to paint a good picture, but the reality is that the budget paints a mixed picture, especially when it comes to the pending projects.
The state government had announced the construction of a coastal road in its 2020-21 budget. This year the allocation for the project increased from Rs.3,500 billion to Rs. 9,000 billion, but no progress was made in either the orientation or the acquisition of land.
This is one of the many examples in the Maharashtra 2021-22 budget, which showcases a bag of old projects.
In his budget, Pawar said his government had focused on building the health system. “The focus this year is on modernizing the healthcare system. We will upgrade the health system of the state hospitals from tehsil level. 7,500 billion rupees were withheld for modernization, ”he said.
Agriculture has been a sector that has helped the state’s economy rebound this year as industrial production plummeted into negative territory and the services sector suffered badly from the pandemic lockdown. Agriculture recorded a growth of 11%. As a result, Pawar announced a number of programs for farmers, mainly an expansion of the previously announced programs.
“If the farmers repay their loans by the end of the fiscal year, they will be entitled to an interest-free loan of Rs 3 lakh,” said the finance minister.
Pawar also announced the government’s full support for farmers protesting the three farm laws on Delhi’s borders. “The government of the MVA (Maharashtra Vikas Agadhi) is with them. We will not implement the laws. We will strengthen the APMCs here in the state, ”he said.
Senior journalist and agriculture expert Maruti Kandale welcomed the budget, saying: “Against the backdrop of the corona crisis and the slowdown, the budget has paid serious attention to agriculture. For example, the scheme for an electricity pump is a welcome initiative for farmers. When micro-irrigation projects are completed, it will give a boost to smaller farmers. “
However, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) described the household as “treason against peasants”.
“This budget does not affect the core issues of farmers. You want MSPs, easy loans. There is nothing like that. There is a failed insurance. How will the state government improve that? There is no word on this. The minister also did not say a word when asked by polyhouse owners, small food processing units owned by farmers. Therefore, this budget does not do justice to the farmers, “said Ajit Navale of AIKS.
Some announcements were also made about the infrastructure development. The Virar-Alibaug corridor, the Nanded-Aurangabad motorway and the Nasik-Pune railway line are among the ambitious projects. Irrigation projects have also received Rs 12,000 crore. “There are a total of 286 projects pending in the state. We plan to complete all of these by December 2023, ”said Pawar.
“The current deficit is 70,000 rupees and if the center does not clear 30,000 trillion rupees from the GST in time, the deficit will rise to 1 lakh crore rupees. In such a state, we manage our finances. I tried to maintain the deficit at Rs 10,000 crore. It’s a difficult task, “added Pawar.
However, Milind Ranade, a union leader, said the budget was “a big zero” for workers. “The hardest hit area of Corona is the disorganized workforce. There is not a single word for it. This shows the insensitivity of the MVA government. There is a system for only sugar cane cutters. But there are as many industrial workers as there are naka kamgar and other. That budget completely ignored their existence, “said Ranade.
The budget has provided Rs 8,200 cr for the urban development department. Maharashtra will soon have 27 parishes including Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nasik and 350 local council elections. So the budget for UD is seen as an attempt to attract urban voters. Some mega-projects such as Thane Dombivli Kalyan Road, MMRDA Roads, Pune Circle Metro, Nagpur Metro Extension have been announced.
Mayuresh Bhadsawale, a young city planner, said the state should focus on completing the projects at the earliest. “Incomplete projects over a long period of time have become a serious problem for city residents. The government should focus on completing the projects at the earliest,” he said.
The opposition has called the budget a “directionless document”.
“MVA cheated people by putting old programs back into the budget. On the other hand, it has not addressed the serious problems faced by peasants and workers. There is no provision for farmers affected by natural disasters in Vidharbha. Support for middle class families suffering from excessive electricity bills, “said Devendra Fadnavis of the Bharatiya Janata Party, opposition leader at the gathering.
Citing resource scarcity, the finance minister also expressed his inability to lower taxes on gasoline and diesel. “The state has fewer financial resources after the GST. Gasoline and diesel taxes are an important resource than stamp duty or excise duty. It is the central government that has so many ways to get money. So you should lower taxes,” said Pawar . .
Economic expert Ajit Joshi said the budget could have been more innovative this time around.
“Health care spending is a good initiative. But this budget lacks imagination. More spending on the informal sector, on labor and on smaller production units could have brought more money to the market. Vision for small and medium-sized industries. I don’t see that. A state like Maharashtra should have a more inclusive budget, “Joshi said.