MAHARASHTRA Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said the State Budget presented by him for 2023-24 was all-inclusive with provisions for the welfare of farmers, women as well as infrastructure development. The State’s economic growth rate of 6.8 per cent this fiscal was good in light of the previous two-three years, said Fadnavis, who holds the Finance portfolio, while replying to the debate on Budget in the Legislative Assembly. “In 2020-21, it (growth rate) was negative 7.2 percent, in 2021-22 it was 9.1 percent and 6.8 per cent in 2022-23,” he said. The fiscal deficit was within limit, Fadnavis added.
He will table an action-taken-report on the Budget in 2024 before presenting the next Budget, he said. He highlighted the Namo Shetkari Sanman scheme introduced by the Budget under which farmers will get Rs 6,000 in addition to the Rs 6,000 given by the Central Government. “When farmers lose their crop to unseasonal rains and hailstorm, Rs 12,000 will come in handy for re-sowing,” Fadnavis said, adding that “at least a start has been made (regarding giving aid to farmers).”
He also spoke about schemes such as incentives on the birth of a girl child and increase in the health insurance cover under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya scheme from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The previous Maha Viksas Aghadi (MVA) Government of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress did not fulfil any of the assurances in its common minimum programme, Fadnavis claimed. It was the present Government which fulfilled the promise made by the MVA to start Rupee 1 clinics and give incentives to farmers who regularly repay crop loans, he said. Construction of the memorial of Dr B R Ambedkar in Mumbai will be completed by 2025 while adequate funds have been provided for the memorial of Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray, he noted. Even though the Shiv Sena was the largest group in the MVA, the departments controlled by its ministers got only 15 per cent of the Budget allocations, Fadnavis claimed. On the other hand, in the present Government the departments controlled by the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde have got 34 per cent allocations, he said. Referring to the ongoing agitation of Government employees seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), Fadnavis said the old scheme was scrapped on October 31, 2005, when late Vilasrao Deshmukh (of Congress) was the Chief Minister and Jayant Patil (present state NCP chief) was the Finance Minister. Government employees should get adequate pension benefits, and a committee of three retired senior officials -- Subodh Kumar, Sudhir Shrivastava and K P Bakshi -- has been formed to study the issue, he said. The Opposition should urge the striking employees to withdraw the strike, Fadnavis said.
Ajit Pawar targets Govt over ministers’ absence; Fadnavis apologises
LEADER of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar on Wednesday lashed out at the State Government over the absence of ministers during the special sitting of the House due to which 7 of the 8 calling attention notices had to be postponed. This elicited an apology from Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. A calling attention notice allows House members to bring the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance.
The issue cropped up after the Assembly, which is having its budget session, resumed its proceedings for the day at 11 am. As soon as Speaker Rahul Narvekar took up the Question Hour, an agitated Ajit Pawar said that in the special sitting today, 8 calling attention notices were listed but just one, related to tourism, could be taken up for discussion because only that minister concerned was present. The rest had to be postponed due to the absence of other ministers, he said.