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Drought hurts state, Mungantiwar presents deficit budget

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
By A Special Correspondent. Photograph by Azad Shrivastav

Focus on Agriculture, Jobs, Infrastructure and Divyangs

Four years of deficient monsoon and drought conditions aggravating this year has badly affected the states economy leading to the debt burden spiking after 2017.
Minister for Finance and Planning Sudhir Mungantiwar yesterday presented the additional state budget in the legislative assembly with a revenue deficit of Rs 20,292.94 crore. With an eye on the ensuing Assembly elections later this year, the focus of the budget understandably has been on agriculture, employment generation through micro, small and medium enterprises with sops for women entrepreneurs and infrastructure projects and divyangs. Minister of State for Finance and Planning Deepak Kesarkar presented the additional state budget in the legislative council

The grim fiscal situation can be gauged from the fact that as per the revised estimates the tax revenue for 2018-19 was expected to be Rs 1,88,931 crore. However, the actual tax collection has been Rs 1,87,541 crore, a deficit of Rs 1,390 crore. The revenue deficit which was Rs 8,006 crore in 2009-10 has now shot up to Rs 20,293 crore. The fiscal deficit which was Rs 26,181 crore in 2009-10 has shot up to Rs 61,670 crore. The debt stock (debt burden) on the state which was Rs 1,81,447 crore in 2009-10 has jumped to Rs 4,71,642 crore, a rise of Rs 2,90,195 crore. The debt burden on the state has shown a sharp increase from 2017-18 when it was Rs 4,02,421 crore and now as per budgetary estimates it stands at Rs 4,71,642 crore.

However, the only silver lining for the state is that the ratio of debt stock to Gross State Domestic Produce (GSDP) which was 21.20 percent in 2009-10 has come down to 15.83 percent as per budget estimates for 2019-20. The other silver lining being that the tax payers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime which was 7,75,000 has now increased to 15,50,000. As per the budget estimates for 2019-20, the budget surplus is expected to be minus Rs 267.47 crore and the fiscal deficit shooting up to Rs 61,669.94 crore.

Taking note of the prediction of yet another deficient monsoon this year a budgetary allocation of Rs 6,410 crore has been made for artificial rain experiment by aerial cloud seeding to increase the rainfall. The government has included 26 incomplete irrigation projects under the Pradhanmantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana in which center will fund rs 3,138 crore out of the total project cost of Rs 22,398 crore. In order ensure assured and adequate irrigation to farms, the government has allocated Rs 12,597 crore for the “Irrigation through Piped Distribution Network”. In a bid to boost research and development in Agricultural Universities and setting up of new Agricultural colleges, the state has allocated Rs 600 crore for the same.

Work on the 701 Km, Rs 55,335 crore Nagpur-Mumbai Express Highway (Samruddhi Mahamarg) which was announced in July 2015, has finally taken off since January earlier this year. In a bid to reduce the traveling time on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway the state has allocated Rs 6,695 crore for its expansion and improvement. Taking note of the increased vehicular traffic on the Thane creek, the government has granted administrative approval for construction of a third bridge on the Thane creek at a cost of Rs 775.58 crore. A allocation of Rs 11,332.82 crore has been made for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link which is being constructed by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). A allocation of Rs 16 thousand 25 crore 50 lakh 96 thousand has been allocated for 2019-20 for the 22 Km, Rs 17,843 crore Sewri-NhavaSheva Mumbai Trans-Harbour Sea Link.

Taking note of the rising unemployment, Mungantiwar has announced implementation of the Chief Minister Employment Generation programme as part of its new Industrial Policy announced in March earlier this year. The programme seeks to start 10,000 small industries with preference to women and SC,ST entrepreneurs. Considering the limited job creation potential in big industries, the government has decided to focus on job creation in the MS&ME sector. Under the scheme industrial parks will be created in each taluka. As part of a pilot project, these parks will be created in 50 talukas. Out of the total plots developed, 30 percent of these will be reserved for women entrepreneurs. A allocation of Rs 300 crore for 2019-20 has been earmarked.

The government has allocated Rs 374 crore for the GIS mapping of 39,733 villages using drone and latest technology whereby maps and surveys will be available for proper tax assessment, construction approvals in the Gaothan areas. In a bid to reach out to the Divyang (physically challenged) the government has announced construction of homes for Divyangs. A allocation of Rs 7,197 crore has been allocated for 2019-20.

A allocation of Rs 5 crore has been made for the digitization of books at the Asiatic Library. Besides this an outlay of Rs 25 crore has been made for providing fundamental facilities at the Sir J J School of Arts, Architecture and Applied Art college. The government has decided to allocate Rs 150 crore for upgradation of facilities at these three Art colleges. In a bid to give fillip to Sports and winning medals at Olympics, the government intends to develop international quality stadium at Walunj in Aurangabad district and set up state level Sports university at Karodi in Aurangabad district.

In a bid to woo the electorate over the issue of monuments, the government has proposed to install statue of Lokmanya Tilak at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi. Besides this a memorial in the name of Malwani drama producer, dramatist late Machindra Kambli is proposed at Kudal in Sindhudurg district.  The government has decided to construct a memorial in Mumbai for former Prime Minister, Bharatratna late Atalbihari Vajpayee. In a bid to protect and conserve Mangroves, the government has allocated a grant of Rs 30 crore for Kandalawan Ocean Biodiversity Project at Airoli, Navi Mumbai. In a bid to woo the Professionals, the government has announced to withdraw the Rs 2 per day penalty for any professional obtaining enrollment certificate. The move will be applicable from 2019-20. However, to ensure tax compliance, the government has decided to charge fixed interest at the rate of 1.25 percent per month.

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