In a new initiative to raise funds for infrastructure projects, the government requires Rs one lakh crore.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Saturday presented a revenue deficit budget of Rs 4,511 crore lacking in attractive schemes or announcements. Mumbai has not received any funds for new infrastructure projects, apart from allotments for revised Metro rail projects.
The Maharashtra government has introduced MAHAINFRA, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for aggregating lands to raise funds for infrastructure projects. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar proposed raising Rs 396 crore through various tax proposals without much increase in taxes, as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from July 1. Despite repeated demands from opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party and ruling ally Shiv Sena, the government did not announce a loan waiver for farmers.
The third budget of the BJP-led government did not give much for the state except making provisions for existing schemes. While the budget has made provisions for various agriculture schemes and the irrigation sector, there is no mention of industries.
The state has claimed to have attracted investment of Rs eight lakh crore through the Centre’s Make In India initiative, but there is no special mention for the sector in the budget.
Leader of opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has termed the budget as Man ki baat, having no solid ground.
“The last year was declared as farmers' year but still there were more than 3,000 suicides. It was hard to see that the government has no sympathy for farmers and only believes in making hollow promises,” Mr Vikhe-Patil said.
Criticising the revenue deficit projected in the budget, economist Abhay Tilak said that it shows financial mismanagement. “If the revenue deficit is Rs 4,511 crore then our expenditure is more.”
“This shows that there is a mismanagement of handling finances. This would lead to borrowing of loans,” Mr Tilak stressed.
In a new initiative to raise funds for infrastructure projects, the government requires Rs one lakh crore. Aiming to institutionalise an infrastructure fund, a separate special purpose vehicle is being introduced, namely MAHAINFRA.
“The SPV will aggregate lands held by the various government departments that are not in use or will not be developed for the next 10 years for securitization,” Mr Mungatiwar said. “The land will be escrowed to the SPV for generation of funds. Securitization of the land will aid in raising funds through low cost loans, bond, investments,” the minister further said.
The highest provision has been made for water resources, with Rs 8,233 crore being allotted for the same in the budget while Rs 7,000 crore was set aside for roads. For chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's pet project Jalyukta Shivar, however, the government has made a provision of Rs 1,200 crore against the Rs 1,600 crore allotted last year.
In other major provisions, Rs 1,041 crore has been allotted to maintain law and order and Rs 2,384 crore has been allotted for the newly announced OBC ministry.
Rajiv Gandhi Arogyadai Yojana will be renamed as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Janaarogya Yojana and will get Rs 1,316 crore, the smart cities project will get Rs 1,600 crore and infrastructure development in nagar panchayat and nagar parishad areas will get Rs 1,000 crore.