Union budget: Commute to get smoother, three of Maharashtra’s Metro lines get funding
More than 50% of India’s infrastructure projects are underway in MaharashtraUpdated: Feb 01, 2018 23:13 IST
The Union budgetary allocation for infrastructure in 2018-19 is a mixed bag for Maharashtra. While the Centre gave three Metro projects — the fully underground Mumbai Metro 3, Nagpur Metro and Pune Metro — annual funding, none of the state’s other big ticket projects found a mention in the budget.
With more than 50% of the country’s infrastructure projects underway in Maharashtra, the takeaway from the budget for state bureaucrats is to look outside to secure finances for the Rs1 lakh crore-plus projects.
The overall funding for Metro projects in the country was slashed from Rs17,810 crore in 2017-18 to Rs14,923 crore this year. This allocation is to be shared between Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Vizag, Noida, Kochi and Lucknow, depending on the projects’ work status and demands.
“We had sought an allocation of Rs5,200 crore this year. We will find out the exact allocation for our project by Friday, but we have generally been granted up to 80% of our demand,’’ said Ashwini Bhide, managing director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had sought 10% of the cost of six of its proposed lines from the Centre under its new Metro policy, which was not reflected in the budget. The six Metro lines are expected to cost Rs50,000 crore. “We sought Rs5,300 crore, which the Centre needs to approve before it is allocated to us. We hope the Centre gives us some funds through a reappropriation bill later,’’ said a senior MMRDA official.
The allocation for two of the Centre’s flagship urban renewal projects — Smart Cities and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and urban Transformation — has been hiked from Rs8,998 crore to Rs12,169 crore. These funds will go to the state’s 10 cities selected as smart cities and 44 cities that fall under AMRUT.
Jaitley tabled an amendment to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budge Management bill in Parliament, which allows for 0.5% deviation from 3% target of fiscal deficit in certain cases. The Centre also reset the 3% fiscal deficit as a goal for itself for 2020-21. This should give the state relief, given that its fiscal deficit is set to breach the 3% norm this year.
Jaitley did not lend support to the city’s ambitious plan to be an international financial services centre. The budget spoke of drafting a Fintech policy, but there was no mention of whether Mumbai could be the first fintech hub.