The BJP government will boost spending on roads, infrastructure and irrigation in 2015-16 with a 15 per cent increase in allocation for capital expenditure, as part of a plan to revive growth, create jobs and focus on the crisis-hit farm sector.
As expected, the budget presented Wednesday by Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar went easy on taxes with higher spending to be financed by non-tax revenues and unconventional sources of revenue in the form of monetisation of land and floor space index.
Total expenditure for 2015-16 will be Rs 2.3 lakh crore, with the budget projecting a decline in two key fiscal indicators — revenue and fiscal deficit — though the state’s overall debt stock will rise.
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The local body tax (LBT) will go as promised by BJP in the run-up to the state polls.
Politically, the budget made the right noises for BJP. On top of the government’s priorities is reversing deceleration in the farm sector.
Appealing to distressed farmers to “have faith in the government and not take the drastic step of taking their own lives”, Mungantiwar promised there won’t be any cut in outlays provided. Allocations were also enhanced for schemes related to minority and backward classes.
Mungantiwar projected the revenue deficit, estimated to reach Rs 13,383 crore in the current fiscal, to decline to Rs 3,757 crore by March 2016. The fiscal deficit is also expected to decline from Rs 37,246 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 30,733 crore in 2015-16.
At a time when BJP-Shiv Sena ties appear strained, Mungantiwar announced a chair in late Bal Thackeray’s name in Mumbai University.