Maharashtra already reeling under Rs 4.50 Lakh crore debt

Mumbai: The state government which is reeling under hefty debt of more than Rs 4.50 lakh crores, is under pressure as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government brings pressure on finance department by preparing to launch popular promise that will make more burden over state exchequer. The Centre and the state has plan to deposit some amount in the account of farmers before the election code of conduct be imposed.

Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil has recently hinted that state is planning to allocate Rs 10,000 each in the account of farmers. Though he did not reveal the details of the scheme, it will certainly bring financial burden over the state exchequer.U P S Madan, principal secretary of finance department confirmed that there are few schemes of the Centre and the state in the pipeline. “However, they are still in primary stage and cannot speak about it,” said Madan.

“The state has kept Rs 10,000 crore aside for seventh pay commission and is still depositing amount in the bank accounts of farmers under loan waiver scheme,” said an official from finance department. State will need more cashflow if state will introduce any popular scheme, that will impact on financial stability of the state,” the official said with a worry.

The state which is already fighting against the drought situation, the reduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) slabs at the recent GST Council meetings has raised anxiety levels in the state Finance ministry. The official from finance department said that the Centre is yet to approve of the Rs 8,000 crore drought relief package that it had sent.

Another worry for the state Finance department is whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in the state follows on the footsteps of the central government and announces slew of sops, schemes and welfare measures ahead of the vote on account on February 1.

If the Centre is to present a vote on account for the next four months on February 1, the state will follow it in presenting it’s vote on account on February 27. Sources pointed out that many central schemes and projects have states share component for which the state has to make allocations in its state budget. Moreover, being an interim or vote on account the state cannot make allocations or announce any new schemes, sops or welfare measures of its own.

Sources said, “The state Finance department has been keeping a close watch on the revenue income and expenditure graph of the state. The department fears of any loss of revenue on account of recent reductions in GST slabs.” He added that despite the advent of GST and subsequent drought conditions the state had managed to present a Rs 2,083 crore revenue surplus budget last year.

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