A day after taking charge as the 27th chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday got down to the job, reviewing the status of key departments.
In the cabinet meeting on Saturday, the ministers saw a daunting task ahead of them after being presented the state of affairs in four important departments – finance, home, energy and agriculture.
Fadnavis chaired a meeting of the state Cabinet at the government's Sahyadri guest house in south Mumbai.
The CM reviewed presentations of finance, agriculture, home and energy departments.
The secretaries of the concerned departments explained the status of projects of these departments.
The meeting began at 11am and the presentations went on for about five hours, an official said.
The Devendra Fadnavis-led government currently faced rising debt – Rs 2,74,845 crore in the year 2013-14 and is expected to cross Rs 3,00,000 crore in the current fiscal year. The 10% rise in debt per year is going to be a major issue for the chief minister who is expected to head the finance department. After paying salaries and pensions, the state is left with approximately 38% money for developmental activities.
The CM asked the bureaucrats to prepare an action plan and also informed the cabinet that the state might ask the Centre for help, if need be, in financial matters.
According to sources, the home department too did not present a rosy picture. “The cabinet felt the need of amending certain laws as per the Supreme Court directives. A decision to this effect will be taken in due course of time,“ said an official who knows the matter. Fadnavis asked state police chief Sanjeev Dayal to enforce law and order in the state.
In energy sector, the CM and his team were presented the current scenario of three state-owned companies that generate, transmit and distribute electricity to more than two crore consumers.
While the distribution and transmission companies are working far better than their counterparts in other states in the country, the generation utility had its woes in fuel supply and maintenance issues. Coal supply has reduced in view of scrapping of allocation of mines on SC order.
Sources said the cabinet was particularly aggressive about energy department which the former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar headed.
The cabinet felt the need of increasing agricultural produce as the state was affected by drought. The cabinet suggested to increase irrigation facility in Vidarbha and Marathwada to boost production.
Fadnavis said his first priority would be to control the government spending through series of austerity measures. “Borrowing per se is not bad, but we have to ensure that the spending is on quality. Financial reforms are a must and we will enforce them,” he told HT.
He said the electricity output would improve because the Centre has decided to allot coal mines to state-owned companies. “Union coal minister Piyush Goel has asked me to identify mines from where we can get good quality coal,” said the CM.
The 10 ministers – seven cabinet and two MoS – were not allocated portfolios till late Saturday evening.
(With PTI inputs)