No dearth of funds despite weak fiscal health: Devendra Fadnavis

BJP and Sena have different views but he does not feel constrained while taking decisions .

Mumbai :While underscoring the stability of the government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday told a select group of journalists that there is no dearth of funds for infrastructure projects, even though the state is not in the pink of health. He also asserted that the state would touch new heights of development under the current dispensation. In an interaction ahead of completion of one year in office, Fadnavis spelt out his government’s strategy for all round development. He also cleared the air on several issues like the ‘so called’ differences within the government, the issue of beef ban, writers returning awards etc. While replying to questions regarding the fiscal condition of the state, Fadnavis was candid. “The state is saddled with a public debt of Rs 3.50 lakh crore; besides, owing to the failure of two successive monsoons the government had to shell out a whopping Rs 8,000 crores for relief measures. This has hurt the economy. In addition, loans taken by the previous governments will have to be repaid in 2015, 2016 and 2017. To cope up with all this, the government will have to raise more debt in the next three years.”

However, the government will make sure that the money is spent on productive works, especially infrastructure development, which will help revive the economy. The government will also monetize various resources to mobilize funds, he added. Fadnavis also asserted said that there won’t be any funds crunch for infrastructural projects as multilateral agencies like the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Asian Development Bank, the KFW and some companies from Dubai and agencies like the Canadian pension funds are ready to provide the necessary finance. “These agencies insist on a clean project: That is, where all required approvals are in place and there is complete transparency. We are ensuring all that,” he explained.

Stressing that Mumbai’s infrastructure development is on the fast-track, Fadnavis said that environmental clearance for the Rs 9,500 crore Mumbai Coastal Road project is expected to reach them any time. The Centre has also allowed reclamation of land for the coastal road and the project will start in 2016. Similarly, work on the Rs 11,000 crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project would start by year end. On the constant sniping by the Shiv Sena, Fadnavis said, “The BJP and the Shiv Sena are two separate entities. There is bound to be difference of opinion. However, I have not faced any problem running the government as is made out in the print and the electronic media. The government is stable.” “In politics the number game is crucial. The poll mandate was in favour of the BJP and the Shiv Sena and therefore both are running the government,” he said and added that in the past one year all decisions in the state cabinet have been unanimous and there was not a single decision with split mandate.

On the question of writers/historians/scientists returning awards, Fadnavis said that the Modi government is being wrongly held responsible for the untoward incidents in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka; he further appealed to the writers and filmmakers not be succumb to such a campaign against the Modi government. “A big political campaign of misinformation is being run by people out of frustration as they are not able to accuse the Modi government of corruption or incompetence or inefficiency. I have full respect for writers. I strongly feel that writers should not fall prey to the political campaign run by these people. Writers are free. They should speak, write. They should not be biased,” Fadnavis said.

“A biased intelligentsia is a real threat to live, vibrant dialogue in the society,” he added and also raised questions as to why the writers did not surrender their awards when the hand of one professor in Kerala was cut for raising questions over practices of a religion. Why writers did not make a similar gesture when Dalit community members were brutally killed at Khairlanji village of Bhandara district.

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