Maharashtra Interim Budget: No new taxes, AIIMS Pune, state bhavan in Ayodhya planned

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Maharashtra Interim Budget: No new taxes, AIIMS Pune, state bhavan in Ayodhya planned

No new taxes were proposed in Maharashtra’s interim budget for 2024-25 on Tuesday, while the government announced plans to set up chemotherapy centres in all districts and an AIIMS in Pune, and said guest houses will be built in Srinagar and Ayodhya for tourists and devotees from the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance portfolio, presented the interim budget in the Assembly and pegged the total expenditure for the next financial year at Rs 6,00,522 crore with a revenue deficit of Rs 9,734 crore.

The budget proposed no new taxes and Pawar said the Shiv Sena-BJP-NCP government aims to expand the state’s economy to USD 1 trillion through sustainable, environment-friendly and inclusive development.

A supplementary budget (full budget) will be presented after the Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in April-May, said Pawar, who presented his first budget as finance minister of the Eknath Shinde government, which he joined in July 2023.

A scheme would be launched to provide pink auto-rickshaws to 5,000 women in ten major cities, Pawar announced. With projected revenue receipts of Rs 4,98,758 crore and revenue expenditure of Rs 5,08,492 crore, there will be a revenue deficit of Rs 9,734 crore, said the senior NCP leader, who was finance minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government, too. School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar read out the budget in the Legislative Council.

“The budget focuses on the implementation of welfare schemes for the youth, women, the poor and farmers,” Pawar said in the Assembly. In the Annual Plan 2024-25, an outlay of Rs 1.92 lakh crore has been proposed which includes Rs 15, 893 crore for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan and Rs 15,360 crore for Tribal Development Sub Plan, he said.

The government has succeeded in keeping fiscal and revenue deficits within the limits set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Financial Management Act, said the deputy CM. The fiscal deficit for 2024-25 was projected at Rs 99,288 crore. An outlay of Rs 18,165 crore has been proposed for District Annual Plan, a 20 per cent increase over the previous year.

Maharashtra received Rs 8,618 crore as Goods and Services Tax compensation in the current financial year. An amount of Rs 7,057.73 crore has been sanctioned as interest-free loan for 50 years under the ‘Scheme for Special Assistance for Capital Investment’.

Six Vande Bharat Express semi-high-speed trains have commenced services in Maharashtra, while a provision of Rs 15,554 crore has been made for railway projects in the state in the interim Union budget presented on February 1, Pawar informed the Lower House.

Maharashtra Bhavan’ guest houses will be constructed in Srinagar and Ayodhya, where a new Ram temple has come up, to provide facilities to visitors from Maharashtra at reasonable rates.

Local authorities have provided land at prime locations for these guest houses for which a provision of Rs 77 crore will be made, said the finance minister. An amount of Rs 22,225 crore was being raised for the Virar-Alibag Multimodal Corridor, Rs 10,519 crore for Pune Ring Road and Rs 2,886 crore for Jalna-Nanded Expressway for land acquisition, he said.

Land acquisition for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship project, is almost complete in Maharashtra, he noted. The work of the Navi Mumbai Airport is progressing speedily and the first phase will be operational by March 2025, Pawar said.

The first instalment of Rs 1,691.47 crore has been provided as grants to 84.57 lakh farmer families under the Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi Yojana announced in the last budget, he said.

Insurance amount totalling Rs 2,268.43 crore has been paid to 50.01 lakh farmers under the `One Rupee Crop Insurance Scheme’ in 2023 kharif season. An All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set up at Aundh in Pune on the lines of AIIMS, Nagpur.

The government is planning to set up 15-bed day-care modern chemotherapy centres in all districts, and dialysis centres will be made functional in 234 rural hospitals. A hearse each will be made available in every taluka, Pawar said.

The annual health cover under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana — the state’s flagship health insurance scheme — was increased from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per family and the number of hospitals covered was increased from 1,000 to 1,900 in the current fiscal, he said.

The government will roll out a sustainable tourism policy, and theme parks, adventure sports, shopping malls, water parks and accommodation facilities will be provided at 50 newly identified tourist destinations, he said.

The opposition slammed the interim budget and maintained it was prepared keeping the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in mind with little attention to financial planning. Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray said the budget was full of assurances and dubbed it as “pro-contractors”.

“The budget presented today is full of assurances keeping the elections in mind. The announcements made are big and alluring, actually, it (the budget) is for contractors,” Thackeray said.

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) state president Jayant Patil said the budget was supposed to be an interim one, but it was presented as a full budget keeping in mind the Lok Sabha polls and appeared an attempt to shore up the government’s declining popularity.

The Congress said youth, farmers, women have got nothing from the budget. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said the government has failed on all fronts and the budget assurances were an attempt to hide its failure and corruption.

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