The Maharashtra government is facing a severe funds crunch and will need to resort to borrowing to pay the salaries of its staffers from next month, state minister for Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Vijay Wadettiwar said on Thursday. Wadettiwar claimed the state has not received a “single penny” from the Union government to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wadettiwar was in Pune to chair a meeting of SARTHI (Shahu Research and Training Institute), an institute set up by the state government in 2017 for the welfare and training of students from the Maratha community.
While explaining the delay in paying stipends to SARTHI students, Wadettiwar said the pandemic, the heavy expenditure incurred on tackling it and the revenue loss caused by the lockdown has led to a great fund crunch for the state.
“The revenue of the state has dropped in a big way. We will have to borrow funds to pay salaries of state government employees from next month. But we will ensure that those who are fighting against Covid-19… we will not reduce their salaries. For other departments, there could be a delay in payment of salaries. Barring three to four departments, the budgets of all other departments will be slashed a great deal,” said the minister.
He said owing to the lockdown, the revenue of the state has gone down steeply and the state has not received any funds from the Central government to spend on Covid-19 relief. He also refuted claims of opposition leaders about the Centre’s financial assistance for Maharashtra. “The Centre had announced funds for fighting Covid-19 pandemic, but we have not received a penny. The funds are being sent to PM-CARES fund. Those saying we received funds are not being honest to Maharashtra,” said Wadettiwar.
The common view is that, if possible, salary of an IAS officer should be delayed. One can’t fake the money situation,” he said.
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