Decision on toll, LBT soon, says Chavan

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said a policy decision on levying the toll and Local Bodies Tax will be taken before the ongoing monsoon session ends.

Addressing reporters after the government presented the Budget in the state assembly, Chavan said discussions were on with stakeholders and a policy announcement will be made soon.

While state’s traders have been opposing LBT,describing the process of filing the returns as complicated and a measure that would bring back “inspector raj”, Raj Thackeray’s MNS launched a violent campaign in recent months over toll being collected without improvement in the condition of roads.

Chavan said the state’s debt stood at Rs 3.04 lakh crore, 18.2 per cent of the state’s Gross State Domestic Product, which was within manageable limits.

“If the loan taken is below 23 per cent of the GSDP, there is no threat to the finances,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance portfolio, said the government has always informed the legislature about how the debt taken was spent.

The Opposition had today alleged that government debt was being used for non-plan expenditure, including payment of salaries to the government staff.

“We have never taken overdraft in the last 15 years whereas the Sena-BJP government in the four and half years of its rule took overdraft several times,” he added.

The Chief Minister admitted that development works were hampered a bit due to natural calamities like drought, floods and hailstorm in last two years.

“We gave Rs 9,000 crore in financial packages. The state’s GSDP was 6.2 per cent in 2012-13 whereas in 2013-14 it is expected to be 8.7 per cent,” he said.

Chavan said this year the budget has focused on infrastructure development as well as industry, services and agriculture sectors.

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