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Maharashtra Budget 2018-2019: Industry captains see poll hue in rural spends

MCCIA’s budget event had experts dissect details of state’s plans

pune Updated: Mar 10, 2018 15:49 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Maharashtra Budget 2018-2019,Sudhir Mungantiwar,Maharashtra
(R to L) Minister of State for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning Deepak Kesarkar along with Cabinet Minister of Finance & Planning and Forests Sudhir Mungantiwar stands for a photo opportunity before presenting the State Budget in House, during budget session at Vidhan Bhavan.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

The state budget presented by Sudhir Mungantiwar, minister of finance and planning, government of Maharashtra on Friday got the thumbs-up from industry leaders in Pune in terms of overall allocation of resources. However, business captains did cite the next elections as the possible driving force behind the major rural spends in this budget.

Members of the Mahratta chamber of commerce, industries and agriculture (MCCIA) reacted positively to the budget citing it as an attempt to strike a balance between the urban and rural.

MCCIA Pune organised a ‘live’ telecast of the budget session on Friday, at its premises, where eminent chartered accountant CV Chitale and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) expert Deepak Shikarpur evaluated the same.

“Though the government has a lot of pressure because of existing debts, it has done a good job in its budgetary allocations. Allocation of Rs 1,500 crore has been made for water supply to strengthen irrigation to the farmers. This is a very good step.Also, taking multiple measures to boost infrastructure, the government has a very good balance of spending in rural as well as urban sector,” said Chitale.

According to Pramod Chaudhari, president, MCCIA, the budget is focused on agriculture which can help strengthen the rural economy of the state.

“This is an agri-based budget wherein an effort has been made to strengthen the rural base and farmers. Efforts are being made to strengthen the state road transportation corporation to support and help farmers to transport perishable items to the market,” said Chaudhari, adding efforts are also being made to make 5,000 villages in Maharashtra drought free.

During the budget presentation, Mungantiwar said that as many as 35.68 lakh farmers have been given a loan waiver.

“The mandate is to double the income of farmers. However, how all of this will be achieved is yet to be seen,” said Choudhari.

Dr Anant Sardeshmukh, director general, MCCIA, said, “The most positive elements of Maharashtra budget are some considerations to start ups, incubation centres and skill development initiatives”.

“IT integration of state universities is indeed a very positive step. The slowdown in economic growth is a cause of concern which has made intensive pursuance of ‘magnetic Maharashtra’ a necessity. Attracting investment needs more proactive policies,” added Sardeshmukh.

In terms of disappointments, Deepak Shikarpur said, “As far as startups and new technology is concerned, the budget 2018 was largely a repetition of what the government of Maharashtra had put forward in its recently concluded ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ summit”.

Stipulating the budget to be influenced by the elections ahead, he added, “As this was the last budget of the current government, additional focus was given to the rural areas.”

CV Chitale said, “In the context of affordable housing, we expected the government to reduce stamp duty. However, nothing was done. Also, we expected some proposal on GST which did not happen.”

Instead of giving Money, state assured to give land for Hinjwadi to Shivajinagr Metro project

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, on Friday, did not announce a large allocation for the Metro project in Pune directly, but assured funding would come in the form of land, which the Metro planning authorities can utilise to raise the money.

The state government had committed Rs 812 crore in terms of viability gap funding (VGF) and the value of the land now being provided is expected to meet this obligation.

Mungantiwar, presenting the annual budget in the assembly on Friday, allocated Rs 90 crore for Metro rail projects in Pune and Nagpur, being executed by the Maha-Metro rail corporation.

“The PMRDA will develop these lands and raise funds for the Metro corridor,” said Pune metropolitan region development authority (PMRDA) chief Kiran Gitte, clarifying that the VGF share in the form of land is for the Hinjewadi to Shivajinagar Metro corridor.

Smart City funding

Eight cities have been chosen under the Smart City project from Maharashtra and Mungantiwar made a Rs 1,316 crore provision for these eight cities. Pune and Pimpri- Chinchwad are among the cities. Smart City officials, preferring to remain anonymous, said if needed, the project will get the funds as this is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) pet project

The two agencies executing the Metro project in Pune are the Maharashtra Metro rail corporation (Maha-Metro) and the PMRDA.

On Wednesday, the central government cleared the execution of the Hinjewadi to Shivajinagar Metro corridor on a public-private partnership basis and approved Rs 1,300 crore as viability gap funding.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 15:47 IST