Devendra Fadanvis's uphill task to present budget amid Maharashtra’s rising expenses & debts

Devendra Fadanvis's uphill task to present budget amid Maharashtra’s rising expenses & debts

To garner popularity ahead of crucial local bodies elections, state government is expected to make the budget 'populist'.

Amey TirodkarUpdated: Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 08:53 PM IST
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Photo Credit: PTI

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the finance portfolio, will present the state budget on Wednesday (March 9).

It will be the first financial document to be tabled by the Shinde-Fadnavis government.

To garner popularity ahead of crucial local bodies elections, the regime is expected to come up with a ‘populist’ budget, but that will also be a tough task as the state is grappling with revenue expenses and debts.

After coming to power in July 2022, the Shinde-Fadnavis government has stayed many works started by the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi. This has affected the expenditure of the 2022 budget.

The Free Press Journal earlier reported that only 47% of the budget’s proposed expenditure was spent till February 10.

Maharashtra under ₹7 lakh crore debt

But this won’t give Fadnavis much hand to spend because the state’s revenue expenses have reached up to almost 40%. Moreover, the state is reeling under ₹7 lakh crore debt while the national slowdown on the industrial level is impacting Maharashtra’s economy badly. This will lead to cuts in expenses, which will be presented in the state’s budget.

On the other hand, demands are rising. MLAs and MLCs from the ruling parties think that this would be the first and last budget of the current dispensation. The Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for next year and several MLAs think the state assembly could go to polls at the same time. As a result, these leaders want more funds for their constituencies.

Money needed to win local body elections

The state will also be going to crucial local bodies elections, including the high-stakes BMC polls as well as contests for 11 other municipalities, 10 zilla parishads and 96 municipal councils.

To win them, the Shinde-Fadnavis government will have to spend money through various schemes. In the backdrop of the slowdown and huge expenses, presenting a populist budget seems ideal for now.

However, citizens don’t just need announcements but want them to reflect in their lives, which is where the Opposition is strategising to corner the government.

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