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Maharashtra Budget: Fund allocation for Mumbai inadequate

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the first budget of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. Mungantiwar aims to reduce the fiscal deficit by levying surcharge on VAT. He presented a surplus budget of Rs. 107.10 crore, also announced tax proposals which are estimated to result in net revenue gain of Rs. 643 crore, which has been incorporated in the budget estimates of 2015-16.

It was heartening to note that LBT will be abolished with effect from August this year. Working women earning a salary of Rs.10,000 pm are entitled to receive professional tax exemption which is a welcome sign. Students got the much needed boost as the drawing, work and graph books are exempted from tax.

Certain medicines required for treatment of cancer will also be exempted from tax and a list of such drugs would be notified separately. Tax exemption has been extended on essential commodities like rice, wheat, pulses and their flour, turmeric, chillies, tamarind, jaggery, coconut, dates, Solapuri chadars and towels upto March 31, 2016. The rate of excise duty on country liquor would now be 200 per cent of the manufacturing cost or Rs 120 per proof litre, whichever is higher.

The minister said the government has promised to enhance the FSI limit from 0.33 to 0.60 and increase the rate of premium in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation limit. It is also under consideration of the government to enhance the rate of premium on grant on all kinds of FSI. These gains in FSI will benefit individuals, but the government does not get benefit of revenue increase in the same proportion.

Mungantiwar proposed a levy of 5 per cent entry tax on long steel, 12.5 per cent tax on all types of wood-free plain and pre-laminated particle boards.

Realty prices are likely to surge with the present budget and the housing problem will continue to haunt the people of Maharashtra. As far as Mumbai is concerned, there is no big ticket announcement and the only notable feature is the allocation of Rs.109 crores for Mumbai Metro 3 project connecting Colaba and SEEPEZ.

For industrial development of state, an innovative project, ‘Make In Maharashtra’ will be launched. A provision of Rs 200 crores has been made for land acquisition and rehabilitation of MIHAN project. A provision of Rs 2378 crores has been made for the Sinhast Kumbamela at Nashik–Trimbakeshwar. Opposition parties said that the Maharashtra budget lacks long-term vision and fails to put forward a well-defined road map for the recovery of the economy of the state.

Jayanthi Subramaniam

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