Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in his reply to the debate on the annual budget 2021-2022, put the ball in the central government’s court on the reduction of fuel prices. Pawar made a strong case to bring petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) ambit and assured that the state government will support the central government at the GST Council. He yet again refused to reduce VAT or cess currently imposed by the state government on fuel.
Secondly, Pawar, in a bid to keep legislators from the ruling and opposition parties in good humour, announced a hike in the legislators’ development fund to Rs 4 crore from the present level of Rs 3 crore.
He also has scrapped the previous government’s decision to tender all work costing Rs 3 lakh and above through an online process from the earlier limit of Rs 20 lakh. He announced the e-tender limit of Rs 10 lakh from Rs 3 lakh following a strong demand from legislators.
Pawar, on Monday, had presented a budget with a revenue deficit of Rs 10,226 crore and fiscal deficit of Rs 66,641 crore, but had proposed a slew of development and welfare initiatives weathering the financial crunch. The opposition slammed the state government for a lacklustre budget. However, the Dy CM said the government will focus on further strengthening agriculture, infrastructure and health, amongst others, despite passing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pawar strongly defended his proposal to provide crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers repaying their loans on time. He also said the government has waived Rs 30,411 crore towards electricity bill dues from the agriculture consumers.
He also said that the state government will soon issue a notification on 1% reduction in stamp duty on property transfers and purchases exclusively in the name of women from April 1.