The state government on Monday presented Rs 9,426-crore supplementary demands in the state Assembly and Council to meet additional expenditure in the agriculture sector. The higher expenditure is on account of the greater emphasis put by the state government on agriculture schemes to provide relief to farmers. Another area of higher spending relates to enhanced allocations for sprucing up cities, municipal councils and corporations through various schemes, both Centre- and state-driven.
While indicating supplementary demands should not be construed as additional expenditure, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the financial allocations were to meet welfare schemes. Of the total allocations, almost Rs 3,500 crore is towards agriculture schemes for farmers. The financial burden is also on account of natural calamities such as drought and hailstorm, which had led to massive crop damage.
“Maximum expenditure will be on providing relief to farmers. Whether it is crop insurance schemes, crop loans or agro-sector welfare measures, additional expenditure is inevitable,” said Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Micro-irrigation works to tackle challenges in the eight drought-prone districts of Marathwada found a special mention. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government allocated Rs 250 crore to municipal councils and corporations to complete projects. Special emphasis has been put on tackling cyber crime and atrocities against women. The total amount sanctioned works out to Rs 2 crore.
The government has set aside Rs 5 crore for the construction of Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray’s memorial in Aurangabad. The government had announced the memorial during the Marathwada special cabinet meeting held in Aurangabad a few months ago. Along with a Rs 2,500-crore plan for drought-stricken Marathwada, the government had promised the memorial. This is in addition to the grand Thackeray memorial underway at Mayor’s Bungalow in Mumbai.
Unlike in the past, some of the aspects for which expenditure has been incurred includes projects on climate-resilient agriculture. CCTV projects for Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur accounts for Rs 81 crore – Rs 71 crore for Mumbai and Pune, and Rs 10 crore for Nagpur.
A senior Congress leader said, “The BJP was always critical of the Congress-NCP government whenever we placed supplementary demands in the Assembly and Council. Now, every session, their fund allocations are increasing, which is not reflected in their annual Budget.”
A BJP minister said, “The supplementary demand is a provision that can be exercised for expenditure towards people’s welfare schemes. We are not splurging funds on wasteful expenditure.”