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Maharashtra Budget session 2024: A budget for every stratum

Updated on: 28 February,2024 07:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

Interim budget for 2024-25 packed with proposals for all, seeks to foster trillion-dollar economy by 2028; Opposition red-flags Rs 99,288-crore deficit, DyCMs say all is well

Maharashtra Budget session 2024: A budget for every stratum

Finance Minister Ajit Pawar pays respects at a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on Vidhan Sabha premises before presenting the interim budget on Tuesday. Pic/X

Key Highlights

  1. Ajit Pawar on Tuesday is full of announcements for all strata of society
  2. The fiscal deficit is 16.5 per cent or one-sixth of the total outlay
  3. The Opposition raised doubts over the health of the economy with such a deficit

With a projected fiscal deficit of Rs 99,288 crore and an aim to foster a trillion-dollar economy by 2028, the interim budget for 2024-25 presented by Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday is full of announcements for all strata of society.

Without revising existing taxes or introducing new ones, the fiscal deficit is 16.5 per cent or one-sixth of the total outlay. The Opposition raised doubts over the health of the economy with such a deficit but both deputy CMs said the deficit is within limit.

Ahead of the general election, due in April-May, and the assembly poll, likely to be held in October, Pawar presented a budget that referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at least six times and NaMo schemes twice.

Major announcements

The state government proposed a world-class skywalk project at Lonavala that costs about Rs 333.56 crore. Pawar announced the creation of a Maharashtra Bhavan at Srinagar and Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya and R77 crore has been set aside for this.  A scheme is proposed to provide pink rickshaws to 5,000 women in ten major cities was also proposed as well as the establishment of at least five memorials and schemes for minorities, OBCs and micro-OBCs.

Also Read: Maharashtra Budget 2024: Key highlights of interim budget for FY 2024-25

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, “The interim budget is in line with the Central government and an inclusive one with infrastructure development as well as development of religious and historical places. It also includes welfare schemes for all strata of society,” he said. An outlay of Rs 6,00,522 crore has been proposed for total expenditure in 2024-25. Revenue receipts of Rs 4,98,758 crore, revenue expenditure of Rs 5,08,492 crore and revenue deficit of R9,734 crore have been estimated.

“The revenue deficit is around 2.32 per cent which is within the three per cent mandated limit of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. This is an interim budget for four months and maintaining financial discipline, we tried to provide projects to every section of society,” said Pawar. Despite the revenue deficit, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said state finances are in a healthy condition and the fundamentals are strong. He added that the evaluation of the state’s financial position has to be made scientifically and the aim to make it a 1 trillion economy by 2028 is within sight.

Against the expected GST compensation, the state has so far received R1,10,816 crore for the period 2018-10 to 2023-24 from the Centre. The state received Rs 8,618 crore in this financial year. The Centre has yet to pay compensation of R5,191 crore, said Pawar in a press conference.

Opposition Speak

Vijay Wadettivar, leader of the opposition in the state assembly, said, “Fiscal deficit of R99,000 crore means the state has started moving towards bankruptcy. The Prime Minister’s dream of creating a  trillion-dollar economy is going to be a daydream. Three lakh crore MoUs were inked in Davos, but where did the investment go? Only 50 per cent of last year’s budget has been spent so the announcements of this interim budget won’t be implemented.”

Nana Patole, chairman of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, claimed people in the state are deeply dissatisfied with the “triple-engine government due to political vandalism, inflation, unemployment, exam paper leakage and communal strife”.

Interesting schemes announced in interim budget

>> Maharashtra Bhavan
Rs 77 crore has been provided for setting up a Maharashtra Bhavan at Srinagar and Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya
>> Maha Vista
Under this, Mantralaya and other government buildings in the vicinity will be developed. Fadnavis said that they are considering international architects’ plans to develop a world-class project to enable the accommodation of more MLAs in the coming year.
>> Drone mission
A committee headed by the chief secretary will oversee the implementation of a five-year plan drafted on the basis of an IIT-B report. 13 district-level and six divisional drone centres will be established. An estimated cost of R238.63 lakh has been proposed. The technology will be used for security surveillance, rescue and relief work during disasters, delivery of emergency medicines and vaccines to remote areas, monitoring infrastructure projects and traffic management.
>> Solar pumps
Under the scheme, the state will provide solar agricultural pumps to 8.50 lakh farmers. “It will not only help farmers who complain about load-shedding but also industries who threaten to go outside the state as they aren’t receiving a continuous electric supply,” said Ajit Pawar.

>> Bamboo plantation
Bamboo will be planted along 25,000 km of state highways and major district roads under the Atal Bambu Samriddhi Yojana.
>> 11 new government medical colleges
These have been proposed for Washim, Jalna, Hingoli, Amravati, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Buldhana, Palghar, Nashik and Ambernath in Thane district. They will be attached to 430-bed hospitals. An All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Aundh, Pune is also on the cards.
>> 7 new government nursing colleges
These have been proposed for Jalgaon, Latur, Baramati, Nandurbar, Gondia, Kolhapur and Miraj district in Sangli. Each will be affiliated with government medical colleges.
>> Schemes for various communities
Fadnavis said that the budget caters to all including women, children, OBCs and micro OBCs. The state interim budget proposes the establishment of the Annabhau Sathe Research and Training Institute for Matang community, Sant Gadgebaba Bara Balutedar Economic Backward Development Corporation for overall the development of 12 Balutedar communities. The Maulana Azad Economic Development Corporation, meanwhile, has been given an enhanced loan guarantee of Rs 500 crore for implementing Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Educational Loan and Micro Credit Scheme. Outlays of R18,816 crore, R15,360 crore and R5,180 crore have been proposed for the department of social justice and special assistance, tribal development department and OBC, Bahujan Kalyan  and minority departments.
>> Memorials
The state government proposed the installation of the Sant Gorobakaka Maharaj in Dharashiv district; Veer Jiwa Mahal at the base of Pratapgad; Lahuji Vastad Salve at Sangamwadi, Pune; Sane Guruji at Amalner, Jalgaon; and Martyr Shri Shivram Hari Rajguru Memorial.
>> Tourism with religious touch
A pilgrimage development authority is to be formed for the development of pilgrimage sites at Aundha Nagnath district, Hingoli; Shri Kshetra Mahurgad, Nanded; and Ekvira Devi Mandir in Pune. Provisions have also been made for the renovation and conservation of 32 forts from to Shivaji Maharaj’s era to promote tourism in the Konkan. Plans are afoot to develop Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj memorials at Tulapur and Vadu Budruk in Pune district at a cost of  R270 crore while R53 crore will be provided for the preservation and conservation of temples and step wells.

Rs 77cr
Amount earmarked for creating 2 Maharashtra Bhavans

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