Union budget: Maharashtra government wants more to spend on infrastructure | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Union budget: Maharashtra government wants more to spend on infrastructure

Fadnavis conveyed to Jaitley that the state was hoping to borrow more as Maharashtra has the capacity for it, said a senior bureaucrat

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2018 23:36 IST
Ketaki  Ghoge
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had sought grant in aid of Rs3,500 crore to complete 90 pending irrigation projects in the suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had sought grant in aid of Rs3,500 crore to complete 90 pending irrigation projects in the suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.(HT File)

With infrastructure projects worth more than Rs1 lakh crore underway in Maharashtra, the government is hoping that Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget on Thursday, permits the state to borrow more.

On the eve of the 2018-19 budget — which may even be the last budget of the Modi government, if the buzz of early elections proves to be true — the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government is counting on minimal regulatory hurdles in its rush to complete projects.

“Fadnavis conveyed to Jaitley that the state was hoping to borrow more as Maharashtra not only has the capacity for it , but is also currently implementing nearly 50% of the country’s infrastructure projects. There is a strain on state finances, owing to the burden of the loan waiver, as well as the seventh pay commission this year,” said a senior bureaucrat.

He said the state was also hoping that the department of economic affairs would intervene less while loan agreements were being signed with international financial institutions, so projects could go on without delays. The state’s borrowing limit is restricted even though its debt-to-gross domestic product ratio is currently within the norms. However, the rest of its parameters under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM), such as its fiscal deficit (2.7%), interest payments to revenue ratio (13%) and revenue deficit this year are likely to be out of line.

In his presentation to the Union finance ministry for the budget this month, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had sought grant in aid of Rs3,500 crore to complete 90 pending irrigation projects in the suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

He had also sought reforms in the agriculture sector, including setting up of a price stabilisation mechanism for all produce, the revival of the national agriculture research, and investment in the cleaning and grading of produce in all agriculture produce and market committees (APMC).