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No new big-ticket projects in state budget, hints Maharashtra finance minister

Sudhir Mungantiwar on Monday pointed out that there was a strain on public finances and this is likely to impact next year’s financial figures

mumbai Updated: Feb 27, 2018 10:56 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,finance minister
Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar (HT File Photo)

The state’s budget for 2018-19, to be tabled in the ongoing session of the state legislature, is unlikely to have any new big-ticket projects or levies that can cut a hole in your pocket.

Hemmed in by the burden of the farm loan waiver (Rs34,000 crore) and the seventh pay commission (Rs21,500 crore), besides its commitment to ongoing infrastructure projects, the BJP-led government’s budget is likely to maintain status quo.

Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Monday pointed out that there was a strain on public finances and this is likely to impact next year’s financial figures, including the revenue deficit.

“While this year we have spent Rs14,000 crore on the loan waiver, the remaining amount will be allocated in the next,” he said. “Similarly, we will have to commit to the seventh pay commission even if the entire amount is not disbursed next year. In addition, we will have to fund our ongoing infrastructure projects by increasing our borrowing.”

Instead of announcing grand schemes, he indicated, the budget could focus on small amenities, measures that can have a positive impact at the constituency level.

With elections a year away, the BJP government is keen on some feel-good announcements in the budget. These could be in the form of ‘quick-fix wins’ that include local amenities, incentives or small subsidies.

“With the introduction of Goods and Services Tax [GST], we have no power to introduce new taxes even on fuel or alcohol. We have reached our maximum limit, and we cannot afford to increase existing duties,” Mungantiwar said.

The finance department is hoping to raise around Rs2,000 crore through non-tax proposals that look at hiking penalties for traffic violations or government fees for applications or transactions.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 10:08 IST