Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday dubbed as a "farce" the winter session of the state Legislative Assembly beginning on Monday as the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has not completed allocation of portfolios to minsters.

Fadnavis, who is leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, alleged that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was spreading "misinformation" about the state's financial condition, which he said was "better" than other states.

He also demanded that the state government disburse Rs 23,000 crore to farmers for waiving their outstanding loans.

Thackeray, who heads the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, took oath as chief minister on November 28 along with six ministers -- two each from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

On December 12, the Sena was allotted the home, industries and urban development portfolios. The NCP got finance and the Congress got charge of the revenue department.

The winter session of the state legislature will begin in Nagpur on Monday and conclude on December 21.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday, Fadnavis said the new government came to power over two weeks back but "no official portfolio allocation has been done so far".

"The current allocation of ministerial portfolios is temporary. Therefore, this winter session is nothing but a farce. It seems the Thackeray-led government is not serious about this session," the BJP leader said.

He alleged that deliberate attempts were being made to spread "misinformation" about the state's financial condition.

"There were some loans obtained outside the budget, but it has been shown as part of the budget and the amount of outstanding loan has been inflated. I think this information is being spread to postpone some critical decisions in future," Fadnavis said.

He said the government was juggling with figures by "clubbing budgetary loans with non-budgetary loans".

"Maharashtra's financial condition is better than other state. The government, without any reason, is putting the blame on the 'financial condition' of the state to run away from its responsibility," he said.

The LoP also demanded that the government disburse Rs 23,000 crore to farmers for waiving their outstanding dues.

"Thackeray, and the NCP and Congress earlier demanded disbursement of Rs 23,000 crore. Now it is time for them to implement it," Fadnavis said.

"The BJP is not demanding it, but we are pointing out their own demands which were made when these parties (NCP and Congress) were in the opposition," the former chief minister said.

Asked if it will be possible for the government to release Rs 23,000 crore amid the huge debt of over Rs six lakh crore, Fadnavis said considering parameters like the fiscal deficit, budgetary size and other factors for taking loans, Maharashtra isbetter than any other state in the country and it can still borrow funds.

"Now, our loans are around 15.2 per cent (of the GSDP) and the state can take loans for farmers, who is stopping them (government)? The Rs six lakh crore loan which is being talked about, there is a difference between budgetary loans and non- budgetary loans," he said.

In 2006-07, the debt to gross state domestic product (GSDP) ratio was 22.9 per cent, in 2013-14 it was 18.4 per cent and 15.6 percent in 2018-19.

There is a limit of 22.4 per cent per cent and the government can take loan, Fadnavis said.

Similarly, the fiscal deficit to GSDP ratio was three per cent in 2006-07, 2.4 per cent in 2013-14 and 2.1 per cent in 2018-19 when the limit is 2.7 per cent, he said.

"It means, the state can still borrow funds and use it for the welfare of farmers," said the former chief minister.

"Why can't the government take Rs 23,000 crore loan as it was their demand only? If they have any difficulty, then they can discuss the issue with us and we will guide them on how money can be given," Fadnavis said.

The Shiv Sena had earlier also demanded clearing of 7/12 land record receipts, he said, adding that the Thackeray-led state government should now do it at the earliest.

"The official figures of the damaged agricultural area are out. Unseasonal showers in October and November damaged crops over 93 lakh hectares, and the state needs to provide some financial assistance to farmers," Fadnavis said.

He said Thackeray had demanded a financial assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare to grain growers and Rs 50,000 per hectare to horticulture farmers before formation of the new government.

"I hope he will now keep his promise as chief minister of Maharashtra," Fadnavis said.

The previous Fadnavis-led government last year launched an online service to provide authenticated 7/12 land record receipts, a crucial piece of document for establishment of ownership of a piece of land.

The receipt is extensively used by farmers for loan agreements, crop survey and for availing government facilities.

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