The budget presented by Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar doesn’t have anything new to offer and looks similar to the one passed by the centre. The state government has emulated the centre by passing a farmer friendly budget. The government which had received flak from opposition for its failure to provide relief to farmers affected by drought has announced several policies to revive the agricultural sector. The state government will observe financial year 2016-17 as “Shetkari Swabhiman Varsh” and has allocated Rs 25,000 crores for various schemes in the agricultural sector. The Finance Minister has projected a revenue mobilisation of Rs 2,20,810 crore against revenue expenditure of Rs 2,24,454 crore with an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 3,644 crore.
Mungantiwar said the state revenue deficit, which was estimated at Rs 3,757 crore by end of 2015-16, has been revised to Rs 9,209 crore largely due to expenses incurred on drought relief measures in over 15,000 drought hit villages. The Finance Minister has pushed for new tax proposal of Rs 301 crore for covering the revenue deficit and sugarcane purchase tax has been waived of Rs 710 crore.
MPCC President Ashok Chavan said, “The government had imposed drought cess last year and increased sales tax rates but it was unable to bring down fiscal deficit. The government has failed to take steps to provide relief to farmers affected by drought. They only make announcements but fail to implement the policies.”
A substantially higher provision of Rs. 2000 crore has been made for farm ponds, wells and electric pump installation. Through this fund 1,00,000 farm ponds 37,500 wells and 90,000 electric pumps will be made available. An outlay of Rs 110 crore has been made available to crop loan with concessional rate of interest to farmers. An allocation of Rs. 60 crore for the new scheme called “Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Krishi Margdarshan Yojana” for promoting agriculture and research new government agriculture at Buldhana and Ahmednagar, new government horticulture college at Jalgaon.
Mungantiwar has proposed an allocation of Rs 25,000 crore for farm sector to achieve positive growth as the Agri sector has grown at minus 2.7% against the target of 6%. The government has not imposed tax on e-commerce sector and will take steps to boost the Digital India Project. New scheme has been launched to provide subsidy up to 25% or max 50 lakhs for establishing agriculture processing units. For promotion of organic farming, Organic Farming Research & Training Centres in four agriculture universities has been proposed. The finance minister has announced a new scheme called “Govardhan Gowansh Raksha Kendra” to implement the programme of raring non lactating and unproductive cattle breed in 34 rural districts with NGO participation.
He has proposed an allocation of Rs 784 crore for new generation projects, Rs 301 crore for new sub stations and Rs 450 crore for the promotion of new and renewable power projects in the state. An outlay of Rs. 2078 crore for seven Irrigation projects included in “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana”. Allocation of Rs. 500 crore has been made for up gradation of roads and new road connectivity under “Chief Minister Rural Road Scheme”.