Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said his government has completed two years in office without a scam taint and expressed confidence that senior leader Eknath Khadse would return to the ministry soon. Fadnavis also said investment in agriculture and infrastructure development was his priority. “Drought management was a challenge that my government faced with. The long-term challenge is sustainable agriculture development and we are working on it,” Fadnavis told mediapersons during an informal get-together here.
He said infrastructure projects worth Rs 75,000 crore have been initiated in Mumbai and other cities.”Infrastructure development is my government’s focus.”
“Opposition parties did not get an opportunity to target my government as there was no taint of scam. Unsubstantiated allegations were made against some colleagues. But, I have replied to all the charges with proof,” he said while replying to a query.
When asked about senior party leader Eknath Khadse who had to resign earlier this year over a series of charges, including irregularities in a land deal, Fadnavis said, “There was a conflict of interest. A committee has been set up to probe the matter and the report would be ready soon. I am confident that Khadse would be acquitted and will be back in the Cabinet.”
When asked about the performance of his ministers, he said, “The performance is good. I had prepared key result areas (KRA) when I took over and made the ministers and secretaries sit together and discuss how they can achieve the target. I take quarterly reviews and the feedback is good.”
Fadnavis said his government’s endeavour was to improve governance and development. “The state has been described by a recent survey as the most innovative economy,” he said.
When asked about the state’s financial position, the Chief Minister said, “Loans are taken for development purpose. The debt is well within the parameters. We have changed the deployment of loan taken. It is now used only for capital investment.”
He said he was working to restore the state’s past glory in industrial development.
When asked about the Maratha morchas being taken out across the state, Fadnavis said his government was positively working on solutions to address the grievances of the community.
He denied that there was any caste tension in the state saying OBC, Dalit and Muslim morchas have been organised in different parts of Maharashtra.
“No one is speaking against each other at the rallies. Even political leaders need to exercise caution,”he said.
Fadnavis ruled out scrapping the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “We are taking a review of where the Act has been misused and the government stand regarding demand to amend the act to stop the misuse will be finalised later,” he said.
To a question on why he has not heeded to Opposition’s demand for loan waiver to farmers, Fadnavis said loan waiver was a good option, but it was not the only one.
“We are working to improve investment in agriculture. Farmers should be made credit worthy. It is not a matter of money, but principles. Loan waiver in 2008 helped the banks and not the farmers. If we use our resources well, then farmers will be benefited,” he added.
The Chief Minister said in 2008 (during the Congress-NCP rule), the loan waiver was worth Rs 7,000 crore, but his government had provided Rs 10,000 crore to farmers.