Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that his government’s maiden budget was not driven by populist politics but economics to fast track the mission of ‘Make in Maharashtra’.
While denying he had exercised undue caution in enforcing harsh tax reforms, he said, “It is my endeavour to raise the capital expenditure from Rs 28,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore in phases.”
There is very little innovation a state can do in the area of taxes, some of which fall under the domain of the Central government, the chief minister said. “Instead, we will raise funds through non-conventional methods.”
While conceding the budget making was a tight rope walk for Sudhir Mungatiwar, Fadnavis said, “Given the legacy of financial constraints and challenges ahead we have catered to all sectors namely women, minorities,farmers, scheduled castes and tribes.”
Fadnavis said, “The financial burden will increase mid-2015 as debts raised by Congress-NCP will mature and we will have to make provisions for not only interest but also part payments. The allocations will increase towards debt servicing in 2016 and 2017.”
“Yet, we are providing market for mahila bachat gat to sell their goods, welfare schemes for minorities girl, farmers, small scale industries,” he said.
At a discussion organised by Loksatta, a sister publication of the Indian Express Group, he said, “My budget will benefit all class and sections across regions of Maharashtra.”
On the pressing issue of irrigation, the chief minister said, “I admit the monetary requirements to fast track all the projects in water resources would require a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore. As a result, we had to set our priority. This year we have shortlisted 38 projects which completed in time bound manner would make a huge difference to farmers.”
“The farmers suicide would be addressed through long- and short-term packages and decentralised water policies which would enhance irrigation potential. Increasing the potential from 18 to 27 per cent is a challenge,” he added.
While arguing that affordable housing will not be affected by the premium on higher Floor Space Index or land purchases, he said, “We will have a regulatory body to monitor the ramifications. The developers or private land owners who reaped windfall gains because of previous government’s decision will be our target. The ready reckoner on property and rentals and lessee would apply to those who are paying a pittance.”
Fadnavis who has invited criticism for giving a raw deal to Mumbai said, “The BMC and MMRDA are the nodal agencies which plan and executive projects. What would be the logic of highlighting the coastal road in the budget? Although we would get the necessary sanctions from the Centre, its implementation will be through BMC. Similarly, why list MMRDA projects for Mumbai in the state budget.” He added, “It does not mean the state is neglecting Mumbai.”