|The Finance Minister of Maharashtra, Sudhir Mungantiwar, on Friday presented the State Budget for fiscal 2018-19 with a revenue deficit of Rs. 15,375 crore. The economic growth rate in the State is also huffing with 2.7 per cent expected dip for the current fiscal.|
Mungantiwar, while presenting his fourth budget for the Fadnavis government, said that during the year 2018-19, a revenue income of Rs. 2,85,968 crore and revenue expenditure of Rs. 3,01,343 crore is being projected. Consequently, there will be a revenue deficit, which the State government will try and minimise by reducing avoidable expenditure and effective recovery of revenue.
In spite of the tight monetary situation, the State government has not withheld money for its pet project for reducing water scarcity and drip irrigation. Mungantiwar said that Jalayukt Shivar Abhiyan (JSA) is an ambitious project of the State government.
The government considers this as an attempt to find a permanent solution to the recurring challenge of drought in the State. In the last two years, over 11,000 villages have become water-sufficient. For the year 2018-19, a special provision of Rs. 1,500 crore has been proposed for JSA, he said.
Mungantiwar pointed out that drip system is the solution for effective utilisation of available water for irrigation.
The area under drip irrigation has substantially increased using Israeli technology. A sum of Rs. 432 crore is being earmarked in 2018-19 for drip irrigation. Further, for the development of wells and farm ponds an amount of Rs. 160 crore is being provided.
For the development of infrastructure and services at agriculture markets, Mungantiwar said that grain grading machines in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) of the State will be installed. A new scheme with a subsidy of 25 per cent will be implemented, and an outlay has been reserved in the 2018-19 budget. This step will enable unnecessary harassment to farmers while determining the quality of farm produce. It will segregate Fair Average Quality material and traders will have to give fair rates as per quality of produce, he said. On the taxation front, the Finance Minister said that under the VAT Act, filing audit report is mandatory for a dealer, whose turnover exceeds Rs. 1 crore. VAT registration of most of the dealers has been cancelled with effect from July 1, 2017, due to the introduction of GST. The turnover under the VAT of these dealers for 2017-18 will be considered for the first three months only. Hence, it is proposed that the turnover limit for an audit of these dealers will be considered at Rs. 25 lakh.
Infra and transportation
For developing infrastructure and transportation in the Mumbai metropolitan region, Mungantiwar said that projects for improvement of suburban services in Mumbai worth Rs. 10,948 crore under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project MUTP-3 have been undertaken by Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, with a cost-sharing pattern between the State and Central governments is 50:50. The Government of India has proposed a provision of Rs. 519.5 crore for this project. The State’s share will be borne by CIDCO and MMRDA. Under MUTP-3A, the Government of India has proposed various projects worth Rs. 54,776 crore and has provided a token provision of Rs. 1 crore.