Maharashtra Dy CM warns of action against people found without masks

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday presented a budget with Rs 10,226 crore revenue deficit and an annual plan of Rs 1,30,000 crore for 2021-22.

Presenting the budget in the assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Pawar announced a slew of sops for women on the occasion of International Women’s day, including one percent stamp duty waiver if the transfer of house property or registration of sale deed is made in women’s name.

The shortfall of revenue to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore due to the stamp duty waiver will be met by increasing excise duty and VAT on liquor which will add Rs 1,800 crore to the government coffers.

Other sops include free travel for girl students in state transport buses in rural areas and provision for a women- only battalion of the State Reserve Police Force.

The total budget will increase by 8.3 percent to Rs 4,37,961 crore in 2021-22, revenue receipts are estimated to increase by 6.2 percent toRs 3,68,987 crore and tax revenue is estimated to jump by 4.5 percent to Rs 2,85,534 crore.

Non-tax revenue including grants will increase by 12.4 percent to Rs 83,453 crore while capital receipts are expected to go up 21 per cent to Rs 69,001 crore, the minister said.

The government is expected to borrow Rs 75,635 crore. Revenue expenditure will increase by 6.2 percent to Rs 3,79,212 crore.

The government will limit capital expenditure to Rs 2,10,368 crore.

The coronavirus pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the state’s economy, said Pawar, informing that the tax revenue as per the revised estimates for 2020-21 is expected to be Rs 2,18,263 crore.

Focus of the budget was on civil aviation, roads and transport, railways, metro and irrigation.

Farmers will get zero interest loan upto Rs 3 lakh on timely payment of loans.

There will be a special schemeproviding relief to farmers on pending electricity dues and another scheme for strengthening the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee infrastructure.

The Chief Minister’s Employment Generation Scheme will be scaled up to provide eight to ten lakh jobs in the next five years, the minister said.

Airports at Shirdi, Amravati, Solapur, Sindhdurg and Akola will be developed.

There will be a unified development control and promotion regulation for major cities in the state.

The government will take a Rs 15,000 crore loan to complete long-pending irrigation projects.

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a huge strain on healthcare sector in the state, Pawar announced a Rs 12,500 crore package for health-related institutions.

New medical colleges will be set up in Sindhudurg, Osmanabad, Nashik, Raigad and Satara district in the public-private-partnership mode, he said.

“The state will complete the Mumbai coastal road before 2024 while connecting the Navha Sheva-Shivadi under-construction road with the Worli-Bandra Sea Link,” he said.

The state will also construct 235-km Pune- Ahmednagar-Nashik railway track, the minister announced.

A new ring-road costing Rs 24,000 crore will be built in the limits of Pune Municipal Corporation, the country’s largest civic body in terms of area.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis criticised the budget saying it only attempted to appropriate the Centre’s ongoing schemes rather than introducing fresh projects, and did not prvide much relief to farmers.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery called it a “progressive budget” which caters to all sections of society despite the challenging times and 8 per centdecline in the state’s GDP due to the pandemic.