The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Maharashtra on Wednesday welcomed the Union Budget tabled by Union finance minister Arun Jaitely as `transformational’ and `all inclusive’, claiming it would take the country to the next level of development.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said Budget 2017 had focused on all the vulnerable sections – including the poor, farmers, women, youth, Dalit and tribals - ringing true Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of “sab ka saath, sab ka vikas”.
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar also praised the budget’s focus on four sectors – farmers, poor citizens, women and youth.
“While maintaining financial prudence, the budget has made way for a substantial jump in quality increase in spending. This has been possible due to the positive impact of demonetisation. Capital expenditure has been enhanced by 25%, expenditure on infrastructure is pegged at Rs 4 lakh crore…,’’ said Fadnavis.
Both Fadnavis and Mungantiwar praised the ‘radical reforms’ in political funding that they said would usher in transparent politics and help in ending black money.
The BJP government is expected to leverage some of the incentives and spending introduced in the budget in the upcoming civic body elections across the state. This includes increased spending for Dalits, 25% hike in farm investment and the hike in rural employment scheme expenditure.
The state will hold what is being described as mini-assembly polls next month with elections scheduled in 10 of its biggest cities and 25 district councils.
But the opposition criticised the budget, saying it left a lot to be desired.
“People were expecting big relief in terms of income tax after facing ill-effects of demonetization, but the budget wasn’t up to the mark. Whatever relief announced in the budget speech is minimal,” Nationalist Congress party spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
The Shiv Sena was equally critical. “When last year’s promises have not yet been fulfilled, what is the point of this budget? If the government is not going to meet its budget assurances, why even announce a budget every year? The government has claimed to have recovered large amount of money in old notes but this has been from pockets of the common man, while majority of black money hoarders have remained unharmed ” said Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena party chief .