Maharashtra government seeks nod for supplementary budget of ₹4,284 crore
The Maharashtra government on Monday tabled a supplementary budget worth ₹4,284 crore for approval in the state Assembly, on the first day of the budget session. This brings the supplementary expenditure for the current fiscal to ₹36,055 crore.
In the winter session held in November, the government had raised ₹20,326-crore supplementary demand – expenditure in addition to the budget amount, which requires the legislature’s approval. The amount will be added to the state budget for 2018-19, which was worth ₹3.01 lakh crore.
The supplementary demand has a provision of ₹2,000 crore for drought mitigation measures. “The state on February 12 approved ₹2,000 crore from its contingency fund towards drought relief work. It was an additional expenditure which needs the state’s approval,” said state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. “The state has so far spent ₹2,900 crore on drought mitigation measures.”
Almost half the state is currently reeling under drought, which has led to huge losses to farmers. More than 85.76 lakh hectares of the total cultivable land is hit, with drought and rabi sowing only on 29.6 lakh hectares – 52% of the average – till December-end.
Also, ₹1,000 crore from the supplementary demand is to provide concessions in electricity tariff for agricultural pump of farmers and power loom consumers. The state is spending ₹14 crore to give financial assistance to heir of farmers, who committed suicides in the current financial year. Of this, ₹10.82 crore has been raised in the supplementary demand. It has also included ₹482 crore to cover expenses on pension of freedom fighters.
Mungantiwar said the previous Congress-NCP discriminated against freedom fighters while giving them pension. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has now ordered removal of the anomaly, which the government is complying with.
The supplementary demands also incorporate a provision of ₹305.30 crore on regular milk purchase and conversion of additional milk to milk powder. Also, ₹19.50 crore has been sought for contribution to the state disaster response fund.