Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the minister for finance and planning, on Monday presented the annual budget for 2021-22 with an estimated revenue deficit Rs 10,226 crore and fiscal deficit of Rs 66,641 crore. Pawar however, hopes to mop up Rs 1,800 crore through his tax proposals.
The budget day, coinciding with International Women’s Day, featured a slew of welfare and empowerment schemes for women. Pawar proposed Rs 7,500 crore for strengthening healthcare, free state transport bus rides for college girls in rural areas, mega charging centres on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Marg and focus on Mumbai’s infrastructure development.
Despite the state battling a severe financial crunch, the budget focused on health, woman and child welfare, infrastructure development, agriculture and irrigation.
The state has estimated a revenue collection of Rs 3,47,457 crore in 2020-21 budget. Because of the Rs 14,366 crore reduction in the state’s share of tax revenue received from the Central Government this year, the revised target of revenue collection is fixed at Rs 2,89,428 crore. The total expenditure for the year 2020-21 was estimated at Rs 4,04,385 crore but for 2021-22, the revised estimate is now Rs 3,79,504 crore.
Revenue collection is estimated at Rs 3,68,987 crore and revenue expenditure at Rs 3,79,213 crore. The revenue deficit is pegged at Rs 10,226 crore and the fiscal deficit at Rs 66,641 crore. The government has made a provision of Rs 58,748 crore.
The estimated tax revenue is Rs 2,18,263 crore. This includes the revised estimates of Rs 1,84,519 crore on account of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Value Added Tax (VAT), Central Sales Tax (CST), Profession Tax (PT) and other important taxes.
“Considering the current economic slowdown in the national and the state economy, it will be not easy to achieve the revised revenue estimates as above. However, the government will make full efforts to achieve the revised target in revenue collection,” said Pawar.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on the state’s economy last year, severely impacting its industry, service and other sectors.
However, despite the economic slowdown, keeping the focus on women, Pawar has proposed concession in stamp duty for property registrations made in the name of women. “On International Women’s Day, I propose a concession in stamp duty of 1 per cent over the prevailing rate exclusively for women, provided the transfer of house property or registration of sale deed is in the name of the woman or women only,” he said.
Because of this above tax concession, there will be a revenue shortfall of around Rs 1,000 crore.
In addition, Pawar has proposed an increase in the state excise duty on liquor.
It has been decided to classify country liquor into two separate categories -- branded and non-branded country liquor, while increasing the state excise duty to Rs 220 per cent of the manufacturing cost or Rs 187 per proof litre whichever is higher, on branded country liquor only. This measure is estimated to garner the state an additional revenue of Rs 800 crore.
Further, Pawar has proposed to increase the rate of value-added tax (VAT) on the sale of liquor as prescribed in Schedule-B of the Value Added Tax Act, from the existing 60 per cent to 65 per cent. He has also proposed to increase the VAT on the sale of liquor, as prescribed in Section 41 (5) of Value Added Tax Act, from the existing 35 per cent to 40 per cent. “This will get an estimated additional revenue of Rs 1,000 crore,”’ Pawar said.
Woman and Child welfare
Under the Rajmata Jijau Griha-Swamini Yojna, 1 per cent concession will be given in stamp duty if the registration of the property in the name of the woman of the house.
The Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule scheme includes free travel for girl students in rural areas, from their villages to the schools on Maharashtra State Transport buses. The state will provide 1,500 environment-friendly CNG and Hybrid buses to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation on priority basis.
There will be additional special buses for women under the ‘Tejaswini Yojna’ for the easy and safe travel of women in metro cities. Further, for the scheme to empower women and children, it has been decided to reserve 3 per cent funds from the district plan.
The government has decided to form the first women battalion of the State Reserve Police Force in the state.
An allocation of Rs 2,247 crore to the women and child development department has been made, for scheme expenditure.
Health & medical education
An outlay of Rs 2,961 crore is proposed for the public health department for scheme expenditure and Rs 5,994.28 crore for committed expenditure. An allocation of Rs 1,517 crore is proposed for the medical education department for scheme expenditure and Rs 4,024.63 crore for committed expenditure.
A Rs 7,500 crore project has been prepared to provide quality health care and treatment to people, by constructing and upgrading health institutions under the public health department and it will be completed in the next four years. The proposal includes the construction of district hospitals, psychiatric, trauma care centres, primary health centres and sub-centres, upgrading and construction of taluka-level hospitals.
New government medical colleges will be set up at Sindhudurg, Osmanabad, Nashik, Raigad, Satara, Parbhani and Amravati. The upgradation of government medical colleges in the state and the newly established government colleges will increase the number of seats by 1,990 at the degree, 1,000 at the post-graduate and 200 at the specialised levels respectively.
Agriculture & allied activities
The government has proposed an outlay of Rs 3,274 crore for the department of agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy business and fisheries for scheme expenditure. “In 2020-21, despite the deficit growth in the industry and services sector, agriculture and allied sectors grew by 11.7 per cent. In adverse situations, agriculture has helped the state’s economy to recover. We are consciously striving for a substantial increase in the productivity of farmers in the state. Transactions in the field of agricultural commodities should be done with transparency and they should get fair prices. Our government is striving for this,” said Pawar.
Paying interest on crop loans is often a problem for farmers. Keeping in view the objective to free the farmers from interest burden and preventing them from turning defaulters, the government has decided to provide zero per cent interest loans for farmers seeking crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh and for timely repayment. The government will pay the interest on crop loans on behalf of the farmers. The required funds will be provided by the government.
Strengthening the agricultural produce market committee - Farmers in the state often bring their produce for sale in the premises of the market committees. However, most of APMC premises lack the necessary basic facilities for farmers. Since it is imperative to provide these facilities, the government has proposed a Rs 2,000-crore scheme for the strengthening of APMCs.
The government has proposed an outlay of Rs 12,951 crore for the completion of ongoing and pending irrigation projects.