Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar started presenting the maiden budget of the Maha Vikas Aghadi in the Legislative Assembly on Friday by saying that the national economic slowdown has affected the State as well.
Mr. Pawar said the budget proposals focus on tackling challenges of economic slowdown and creation of employment.
The Minister said that there was a drop in central funds to the State to the tune of ₹8,453 crore, and added that the total debt on the State till January 2020 is ₹4,33,901 crore.
Petrol, diesel VAT to be hiked
Minister Ajit Pawar announced tax concession proposals, including 1% stamp duty concession for the next two years and other related charges applicable on registration of documents in the areas falling under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and municipal corporations of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur.
He proposed to reduce electricity duty on industrial use from 9. 3% to 7.5% of consumption charges.
Mr. Pawar said the concession in stamp duty will help promote the real estate sector in the wake of slowdown. The reduction in electricity duty will help promote industries in the State, the Finance Minister said.
Due to the tax concessions, it is expected that there will be yearly revenue loss of around ₹2,500 crore.
Similarly, Mr. Pawar proposed to increase VAT (value-added tax) on petrol and diesel by ₹1 per litre.
This will enrich the State exchequer by an additional ₹1,800 crore, he told the Assembly.
MVA government announces sops for farmers in maiden budget
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar announced a one-time settlement scheme for farmers whose debt is more than ₹2 lakh in the State budget for 2020-21.
Mr. Pawar said an amount of ₹2 lakh will be deposited in bank accounts of farmers whose dues were more than ₹2 lakh till September 30, 2019.
He said farmers who took crop loan in 2018-19 and regularly pay their dues will be given ₹50,000 as incentive.
₹150 crore for subsidised food scheme
The Minister also announced ₹150 crore for the government’s ‘Shiv Bhojan’ thali scheme, a subsidised food scheme for the poor.
He said the government has set a target of feeding one lakh people through its ‘Shiv Bhojan’ meal scheme.
Tourism projects gets a fillip
Minister Ajit Pawar announced that an international level aquarium and tourist hub will be built at Worli at a cost of ₹1,000 crore, and that an amount of ₹100 crore will be set aside annually for boosting tourism in Mumbai.
“A degree and diploma programme in tourism will be started. The tourism and cultural development department will get ₹1,400 crore outlay,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MLA development fund has been increased from ₹2 crore to ₹3 crore.
Additionally, the social justice department has been allotted ₹9,000 crore. An amount of ₹5 crore has been set aside to create a separate corporation for welfare of transgender community, he added.
₹2,100 crore to be set aside for women’s safety
Minister Ajit Pawar stressed the importance of women’s safety, and pledged an amount of ₹2,100 crore for the Women and Child Welfare development department.
“For us, women’s safety is of utmost priority. One all-women’s police station will be started in every district,” he said.
The Minister added that the government will take measures to ensure that sanitary napkins are made available to every girl in every secondary school in the State.
Focus on schools, employability
We want to make at least four schools as model schools in every taluka, said Finance Minister Ajit Pawar in his budget speech.
“Our youth only needs quality education and unemployment. There is large scale unemployment due to economic slowdown. A new scheme for educated unemployed wherein the government will bear 75% stipend due to them during training period in new industries,” he said.
The Chief Minister’s Employment Generation Scheme will create 1 lakh industrial units and create employment, he said.
₹5,000 crore set aside for health
The Finance Minister said that the proposed amount for total health outlay is ₹5,000 crore. Around ₹2,500 crore has been set aside for medical education. This includes construction of new hospitals, revamp of existing hospitals, medical colleges, and purchase of ambulances, he said.
“A new policy will be brought for palliative care. All stakeholders will be included in this policy formation,” he said.
170-km ring road for Pune, metro to be expanded
On the infrastructural front, a 170-km ring road has been proposed at Pune. “We will start land acquisition and complete it in four years. Maharashtra will only pay for land acquisition whereas the construction cost will be borne by Centre,” said Mr. Pawar.
He said that all roads leading up to major markets in every city in Maharashtra will be revamped, and an amount of ₹1,000 crore has been proposed for this.
Two new Metro lines in Pune and expansion of existing proposed Metro lines have also been proposed, and for this, more more funds have been set aside for Pune Metro than previous years, he said.
Crop loan waiver schemes
The Mahatma Jyotirao Phule loan waiver scheme in 2020-21 received total allocation of ₹22,000 crore, of which total waiver worth ₹9,000 crore has been disbursed, said Mr. Pawar. “I am proposing two more schemes for farmers,” he said.
He adds that the Chief Minister’s Water Conservation Scheme is being introduced, and ₹2000 crore has been allocated to Water and Soil Conservation department for this.
“In the next five years, 5,000 solar agricultural pumps will be set up to provide electricity to farmers at night. ₹670 crore has been set aside for it,” says Mr. Pawar.