Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said his government's maiden budget focusses on the welfare of farmers, women, youth and rural infrastructure.
Talking to reporters after the finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the budget in the legislative assembly, Fadnavis said despite the state not being in a financially sound condition, the budget proposals were courageous and would lead to progress and development.
"Earlier the plan size used to increase but the capital expenditure would be around Rs 18-22,000 crore. This time the capex has been increased to Rs 28,000 crore. There is a quantum jump. We have ensured proper allocation of funds," he said.
Mungantiwar told reporters that the budget was not expenditure-centric but output-centric. "We are trustees of the people's money and would work hard to ensure that the budget proposals are implemented in letter and spirit," he said.
Fadnavis said that a revenue of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore were expected through increase in premium on the additional floor space index (FSI).
NCP leader Jayant Patil, a former finance minister, said the budget was directionless and lacked vision. It did not mention how the growth rate would be increased, and how the government planned to attract investment.
Further, to compensate for the loss caused by revocation of Local Body Tax (LBT) the government was planning to put a burden on the rural Maharashtra by increasing VAT, he said.
Another senior NCP leader, Chhagan Bhujbal, said the budget was only a verbal gimmickry, it had only announcements but not proper budgetary provisions.
Former chief minister and the current chief of state Congress Ashok Chavan said neither the budget made any mention of farmers hit by the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms nor was there anything for the welfare of backward classes, he said.
NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil, a former finance minister, said the budget defied the fiscal discipline and was misleading. The allocation for power generation was very low, he added.
Instead of making provision for making up the loss that would be caused by scrapping of Local Body Tax, the government planned to increase the fiscal burden on those living outside the municipal areas with a VAT surcharge, he said.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the budget had nothing to offer to the poor and the farmers.
MIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel termed the budget as "nothing but anti-minority". There was no proposal for improving the socio-educational and economic status of minorities, especially the Muslims, he said.
With a meagre Rs 25 crore allocation for 440 minority-dominated villages, the BJP-Shiv Sena government had tried to fool the community, he said.
Jaleel however welcomed hike in the budget of Maulana Azad Finance Corporation to Rs 150 crore.