The Maharashtra government, on Monday (the first day of the winter session) tabled supplementary demands worth Rs 21,599.52 crore to meet its revenue shortfall. Of this, Rs 22 crore has been earmarked for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine cold storage facilities with negative temperature. This is important as the coordination committee for the vaccine last week said that there are cold storages available across the state, comprising one at the state level, nine at the divisional level, 34 at the district level and 27 at the municipal corporation level. 3,135 cold chain centres are available as well.
The committee had also said that around 2.6 lakh government employees in the healthcare sector, including doctors and nurses, will get the coronavirus vaccine in the first round of inoculation in Maharashtra.
Further, the state government in the supplementary demands has earmarked Rs 2,211 crore for compensation to farmers hit by natural calamities, Rs 2,850 crore for bonus to paddy growers above the procurement price declared by the central government and Rs 476 cr for legislators’ development fund.
In a bid to pacify the Maratha community, which proposes to launch an agitation against the state government pressing for an early restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs, an allocation of Rs 80 crore has been made to Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI), which is engaged in research, policy advocacy, training for socio-economic and education development of the Maratha, Maratha-Kunbi, Kunbi-Maratha, Kunbi community and the families dependent on agriculture in Maharashtra. SARTHI has been brought under the jurisdiction of the planning and finance department held by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
Further, the government, in a bid to keep the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community in good humour, has earmarked Rs 81 crore to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Research and Training Institute (MahaJyoti), which is a training and career guidance institute for OBC, Special Backward Class and VJNT communities. Further, the government has allocated Rs 11 crore for the scholarship for OBC students. This was done at a time when OBC ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Vijay Wadettiwar, along with the various community organisations, have strongly opposed touching the 27% OBC quota to provide reservation to the Maratha community. Moreover, the government has allocated Rs 216 crore for the ashramshala of VJNT community students.
The state government, during the monsoon session held in September, had presented supplementary demands worth Rs 29,084 crore to make up the revenue shortfall. Pawar has said that the state government has a revenue shortfall of Rs 8,000 to 9,000 crore in November compared to the corresponding period last year because of the lockdown and economic slowdown. The state government during April-November 2020 had raised borrowings worth Rs 65,500 crore.