Shinde-Fadnavis govt faces multiple challenges to maintain Maharashtra’s pre-eminence

Sanjay JogUpdated: Sunday, August 14, 2022, 09:53 PM IST
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CM Eknath Shinde, his deputy Devendra Fadnavis | ANI

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faces a huge challenge of expediting infrastructure development as well as streamlining the functioning of urban development amid rapid urbanisation in Maharashtra. Shinde, who holds MSRDC which will be implementing a slew of transport infrastructure projects close to Rs 3 lakh crore, will not only have to monitor their development but also other infrastructure projects of more than Rs 5 lakh crore being implemented by the public works department and various undertakings including Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and City and Industrial Development Corporation. Shinde’s mandate is to see that these projects are put on fast track development avoiding time and cost escalation.

This apart, as the urban development minister Shinde will have to promote professionalism in the functioning of the urban local bodies and make them financially sound.

Similarly, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as a home minister will have to pay attention to the modernisation of police force, curb criminalisation of politics, control atrocities against women apart from corruption in police transfers. Fadnavis, who had exposed corruption in police transfers during the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, will have to bring in major amendments so that these transfers take place in a transparent manner.

However, as a finance minister, Fadnavis will have to strive to reduce mismatch between revenue and expenditure, curb the public debt which has crossed Rs 5 lakh crore, boost tax collection without its increase and more importantly step up efforts to achieve Maharashtra becoming a $1 trillion economy. Fadnavis will have to coordinate with the BJP-led government at the Centre for getting GST compensation dues of over Rs 14,000 crore and also more funds under various schemes for the state.

Fadnavis faces an acid test in the revival of the ailing state’s energy sector because the state-run power distribution company MahaVitaran’s arrears from various consumers have been a record Rs 73,000 crore and liabilities are worth Rs 45,000 crore. MahaVitaran owes around Rs 18,000 to Rs 21,000 crore to the state power generation company MahaGenco towards power supply. Distribution continues to be a grey area in the state energy sector and Fadnavis will have to put in place a new policy for the recovery of arrears and promote a culture for the regular payment of electricity bills to avoid its collapse. Fadnavis will have to make fresh efforts to make electricity charges recovered from the industry consumers more competitive compared to other states.

Meanwhile, as an industry minister, Uday Samant will strive to maintain Maharashtra’s pre-eminence in attracting domestic and foreign direct investments. Although the successive governments have reduced a number of approvals and permissions, Samant will have to pay more attention to the timely implementation of projects proposed in the MoUs.

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