The state’s interim budget presented yesterday had nothing to cheer about, with the state’s debt expected to cross Rs 3 lakh crore and an expected revenue deficit of Rs 5,417 crore during the next financial year.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Minister for Finance and Planning Rajendra Mulak, during the second day of budget session at Vidhan Sabha. Pic/Rahul More
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Minister for Finance and Planning Rajendra Mulak, during the second day of budget session at Vidhan Sabha. Pic/Rahul More

The deficit may lead to a hike in state taxes in order to fill the gap between income and expenditure. However, with the upcoming elections, the Democratic Front is most likely to postpone this decision.

Delivering the budget, Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, informed the state assembly that while the state’s revenue for 2014-15 is expected to be Rs 1.69 lakh crore, the expenditure is projected to be Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Of this, the allocation for the annual development plan is Rs 51,222 crore, a hike of more than Rs 5,000 crore as compared to last year.

About 62 per cent of the expenditure is on payment of salary, pensions and interest against loans, leaving a measly 38 per cent for the state. The state appears to be heading towards a permanent debt-trap, which will cross the Rs 3 lakh crore mark.

Higher expenditure
The income of the state has seen steady growth. The per capita income (total income divided by the number of people in the state) has increased from Rs 24,035 from the beginning of the last decade, to the present Rs 1.05 lakh. It has also resulted in an increase in the revenue of the state.

However, expenses have increased at a much higher pace, especially against heads such as salaries, interest, natural calamities, subsidies to power consumers, maintenance and repairs of roads, and so on.