BJP projects higher state economic growth than nation, Opp trashes it
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan challenges statistics and demands a thorough debate in the House
A day ahead of the state's Budget on Tuesday, Maharashtra's economic survey presented by finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, has pegged the state's expected economic growth rate for 2018-19 at 7.5 per cent, higher than the country's rate at 6.8 per cent. The survey, which helps in deciding the financial discourse of the state and acts as a guiding document for investors, was tabled in the Budget Session of Legislature.
Raising doubts over the estimates, the Opposition has called the survey a misleading document. Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan challenged the statistics and demanded a thorough debate in the House.
The agricultural growth continues to be a matter of concern, as the sector is expected to take a hit despite registering some growth as compared to last year when the estimated rate was in negative but improved later. Industry and service sectors are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 9.2 per cent, respectively.
The survey says Maharashtra contributed 14.4 per cent to the national GDP and per capita income was estimated to grow from R1,76,102 to R1,91,827, which is higher by 8.9 per cent.
State's revenue receipt till December 2018 showed an increase of 14.5 per cent over the corresponding period of 2017-18. Revenue expenditure increased by R58,000 crore. State's debt is R4,14,417 crore, which is still under fiscal control considering its eligibility and servicing ability.
Chavan said the state's survey was as misleading as the Modi government's economic projections. He added, "When the national growth rate has dropped by at least 2.5 per cent (as against the projected rate of 6.8 per cent) as per the report by former economic advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, how can Maharashtra government say it will grow at 7.5 per cent?"
Chavan also challenged the state's estimated agricultural growth saying that the rate last year (2017-18) was in the negative (-8.3 per cent), which was later revised to 3.5 per cent. "Did the agriculture sector grow by 12 per cent when severe drought conditions affected the state? The Kharif crop in 2017-18 had reduced by 12 per cent and the Rabi crop was affected by a massive 63 per cent. How is this possible?" he asked.
The former CM questioned the industry projections, especially growth of construction by 10 per cent and jobs to be created. He also doubted the BJP's agenda of creating a trillion dollar economy by 2025. "If they are to achieve this, then we must grow by 250 per cent. Are such projections realistic?"
Chavan said the BJP's claim of doubling agricultural growth by 2023 was baseless. "Has our agriculture grown by 11 or 12 per cent in the last three years? Actually, the growth rate is not beyond 2.5 per cent. So, the claim is misleading."
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