Maharashtra did well in handling Covid-19 pandemic: Governor in address to legislature
Amid the tussle between ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and principal Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, in an address to the joint session of the state legislature on Monday, praised the Uddhav Thackeray government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and said its measures have become a model for the country and the world.
Lauding the state government on its Covid-19 response, Koshyari said, “My government took several measures for the control and management of the Covid-19 pandemic which have become a model for the rest of the states and even other countries. Maharashtra has most effectively managed the epidemic by bringing down the number of active cases and successfully dealing with difficult settlements such as Dharavi.”
The Governor also said that the state is yet to get goods and services tax (GST) dues worth ₹29,290 crore from the Centre. He pointed out that despite a significant drop in the revenue and delay in getting GST compensation dues, the state government has provided “priority funding” to health, medical education, relief and rehabilitation, food and civil supplies, and home departments during the pandemic.
Out of the ₹46,950 -crore worth of dues to the state government as GST compensation, the Centre has paid only ₹6,140 crore, while ₹11,520 crore has been given as loan for GST compensation.
Koshyari’s speech, which reflects state government’s plan for the year, set the tone for the 10-day budget session that is expected to witness a face-off between MVA and BJP, which also sparred over the Vidarbha and Marathwada statutory development boards and the approval of the 12 upper house members to be appointed by the Governor. The tenure of the development boards, which were created by a Presidential Order in 1994 to help remove regional imbalance, had ended last April, and the state has not formed the board since then. These boards are responsible not to the legislature, but to the Governor, who exercises direct control over them.
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Monday said that the boards will be formed immediately after the names of 12 Members of Legislative Council (MLCs) to be appointed from Governor’s quota are approved. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis condemned Pawar’s comments and accused MVA government of holding Vidarbha and Marathwada to ransom over the appointment of 12 MLCs, whose names were sent to Koshyari in November last year.
Fadnavis asked what have the people of the two regions got to do if the names are not being cleared.
“It’s between you and the Governor, who is not of any party but an authority... I thank Pawar for saying what he had in his mind. You have held Vidarbha and Marathwada to ransom for 12 MLCs. How much politics are you going to play?” said Fadnavis.
During his address, Koshyari also said that the Maharashtra government will continue its strong stance on the border dispute with Karnataka.
“My government has strongly presented Maharashtra’s case in the original suit filed in the Supreme Court on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute and henceforth, will continue to present the same. My government expresses its commitment to the Marathi -speaking people of the border areas and is committed to get them justice,” Governor said.