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Populist schemes may see cut in expenditure

The plan size-expenditure on development works was fixed at Rs 49,000 crore.

Mumbai | Published: December 12, 2013 4:13 am

Sandeep Ashar

Big ticket infrastructure and development projects in Maharashtra may soon be hit as the state administration is likely to impose a cut in budget expenditure for populist schemes announced by the Democratic Front (DF) government ahead of the 2014 elections.

Requesting anonymity,a senior state official said a decision on the extent of the cuts will be taken following a review of the financial position by the end of this month. The finance department has so far released up to 80 per cent of the expenditure outlay earmarked to state departments for 2013-14.

Adverse economic conditions have adversely impacted the state’s revenue income this year. Major revenue generating sources such as sales tax,stamps,registrations,excise and motor vehicles tax have been hit,the official added.

Despite the treasury “tight financial position”,the political leadership has begun “pandering to populism”,another senior official said.

Last week,the Cabinet decided to spend Rs 1,117 crore from its kitty to ensure subsidised ration for 1.77 crore beneficiaries proposed to be excluded under the Centre’s new Food Security Act provisions.

In the cabinet note,the Finance Department had strongly opposed the move stating the resource crunch.

In September,the Cabinet approved proposals for providing incentives to the girl child (Rs 576 crore) and modernisation of madrasas (Rs 1500 crore).

Another proposal for providing financial and legal support to rape and acid attack victims (Rs 67 crore) was also approved.

An official said the treasury will also have to set the budget for relief and rehabilitation packages announced for drought and flood affected victims in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had earlier mentioned that spending cuts would have to be imposed. Pawar had announced a Rs 1.80 lakh crore budget for 2013-14.

The plan size-expenditure on development works was fixed at Rs 49,000 crore.

sandeep.ashar@expressindia.com

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