The state government issued as many as 223 resolutions between September 9 and 12, the day the code of conduct for October 15 Assembly elections kicked in around 5 pm.
A last-ditch attempt to improve poll prospects of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the focus of the last-minute push was seemingly to push development works in Assembly segments represented by legislators of the ruling combine. Ironically, the Chavan government has been at the receiving end for delays in decision-making during its reign at the helm.
The highest priority was accorded to administrative approvals to water supply and irrigation projects in Congress, NCP-led constituencies in Western Maharashtra, Marathwada, and Vidarbha belts.
In fact, 74 out of the 223 resolutions were related to the water supply and sanitation department. Another 23 dealt with various approvals for irrigation projects by the water resources department.
According to a government resolution issued on September 12, such projects can now claim VAT set-off on gross sales basis instead of net sales. Opening doors for more companies to vie under the category of ultra mega projects, where investments required are to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore, the government also declared that even industries that do not export wares outside the state and country were eligible.
Earlier this month, four major auto giants, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Volkswagen and Bajaj Auto had announced investments worth Rs 11,500 crore for expansion in the state. The general administration department (GAD) brought out 15 resolutions in this regard during these four days. Sources said several senior officials close to the regime had sought postings in departments and posts of their liking before the next government is elected to power.
The sops dished out included disbursal of Rs 67 crore towards financial assistance to Scheduled Caste farmers, release of grants towards expenditure of foreign trips arranged by the agriculture department for farmers, inclusion of 97 new villages for grants-in-aid towards dry land farming, and approvals to 47 new colleges in the state, among others.
A controversial decision to extend capital subsidy under the state’s new textile policy to industrially backward talukas in Western Maharashtra was also taken. Senior Maharashtra ministers from Vidarbha and Marathwada regions had strongly objected to this proposal during a cabinet meeting earlier this month, arguing that the subsidy was meant for cotton growing districts.
But as a special dispensation to Western Maharashtra, the state government has now decided to extend this subsidy for projects in all talukas that are earmarked as ‘cotton-growers’. The government resolution states the state will issue a separate order fixing the criteria for identifying such ‘cotton growing’ talukas.