Maharashtra government Wednesday tabled supplementary demands of Rs 11,445 crore to cope with additional expenditure on social and infrastructure schemes in urban and rural sectors. The Monsoon Session began in Nagpur on Wednesday.
The supplementary demands are additional expenditure not factored in the annual budget and thus require state legislature approval.
Among projects for which funds have been earmarked include rural infrastructure Rs 1,000 crore, Metro projects Rs 850 crore, bullet train Rs 250 crore, repayment of loans taken to compensate farmers cultivating tur (yellow dal) Rs 1525 crore, digitisation of gram panchayats through Bharat Net Rs 300 crore, tree plantation drive Rs 274 crore.
The supplementary demands also include expenditure of Rs 159 crore to purchase two new helicopters for the state government. Pradhan Mantri Krishisinchai Yojna has been provided additional Rs 223 crore, and PM Awas Yojana Rs 167 crore. Sizeable additional funds have gone for anganwadi workers (rural workers in the health sector). The additional expenditure, which requires approval of the legislature, proposed in the monsoon session of state legislature in Nagpur includes sizeable allocation of Rs 3,056 crore required to match the centre-state projects. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “If we look at the size of the budget for 2018-19, supplementary demands of Rs 11,445 crore is justified. It is consistent with financial plans where projects and priorities relate to both rural and urban sectors.”
The state government believes the increased revenue following Goods and Services Tax (GST) showing a quantum jump of 39 per cent in the first quarter will offset the additional burden. The optimism stems from Maharashtra taking a lead in higher revenue generation following enforcement of GST. The state government believes the GST has led to fiscal consolidation. The state may not require to even approach the centre for GST compensation next year as it has surpassed its target. In March 2018-19, the state government approved a budget of Rs 3,67,281 crore which was 13.4 per cent increase over the revised estimates of 2017-18.
Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar said, “The actual financial burden on the state will be only Rs 8,389 crore of the total Rs 11,445 crore.” He said, “The higher revenue on account of GST continues, and the government would be able to provide a surplus budget for 2019-20.” The opposition perceives supplementary demands as an outcome of improper planning. The leader of the opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said,
“Actually, all the expenditure earmarked under supplementary demands should have been incorporated in the annual budget. Every session, the government seeks approval for supplementary grants.”
According to the finance department, the total supplementary demands approved by the government in the last three and half years in successive legislature sessions works to a total Rs 58,975 crore.”