Mumbai: The 11-member expert committee at its maiden meeting on Sunday recommended that the Maharashtra government should convey a strong positive message to all the sectors that, ‘notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, the state finances are strong to support the economy and the economy is strong to support revenue generation for the state.’ The committee comprising serving and retired bureaucrats, which was formed last week by the state government to suggest measures for the revival of the economy, made a strong case in favour of allowing CoVID-19 compliant industries to restart from April 20, as this will set a portion of the economy rolling.
Senior bureaucrat, who is a committee member, told FPJ, “Industries in green and yellow zones can reopen by strictly adhering to the CoVID-19 protocol. Agricultural activity coupled with the restart of industries involved in manufacturing, engineering, chemicals, fertilizers, and pharmaceutical will help streamline the supply chain. However, the committee was of a unanimous view that the government will have to help revive fitness, beauty, hospitality, travel and tourism sectors.''
He further said that the committee members insisted that the state budget for 2020-21, which was presented by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on March 6, will have to be rethought by reworking the estimates of revenue, additional borrowings and expenditure. This is necessitated, as already there was a shortfall of over Rs 45,000 crore in March and April, as there has been a complete halt in revenue mobilisation due to the lockdown.
Besides, there will be at least 30 per cent reduction, while GST collection will be down by a minimum 40 per cent against the estimates. GST is the major source of revenue for the state, while the reduction in stamp duty and excise duty will be much more than this.
Further, committee members suggested that the government will have to make more allocation to the social security and health sector apart from basic government functioning. The committee will meet on April 20 and expects to submit a report by April 30.