Mumbai: Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Friday presented a political budget that lays emphasis on farmers, job creation, and infrastructure.

The budget proposes revenue expenditure of Rs3.01 trillion and estimates revenue receipts of Rs2.86 trillion, thus registering a revenue deficit of Rs15,375 crore. The estimated revenue expenditure comprises a total allocation of Rs95,000 crore for all government schemes and programmes, which represents a 23.08% increase over the previous fiscal’s allocations.

In his budget speech, Mungantiwar said the government will make efforts to reduce the revenue deficit by “saving from the unnecessary expenses and effective revenue recovery”.

As expected, the budget broadly follows the philosophy of the 2018-19 Union budget, with an eye on farmers, socially and economically backward sections including the Maratha community students fighting for reservation, and impetus to infrastructure development to create jobs.

Maharashtra’s economic survey for 2017-18, tabled on Thursday, estimates that the farm sector’s growth will contract by 8.3% in the current fiscal. The budget allocates nearly Rs15,000 crore to heads related to agriculture including irrigation, energization of agricultural pumps, and the state government’s flagship programme Jalyukta Shivar, which is an amalgamation of decentralized irrigation and water conservation schemes specifically meant for drought-prone regions.

The budget provides Rs8,233 crore to the water resources department and Rs3,115 crore as the state’s contribution to complete 26 irrigation projects under the Pradhan Mantri Krushi Sinchai Yojana. The Jalyukta Shivar scheme has been allocated Rs1,500 crore for 2018-19. The state plans to energize 93,322 agricultural pumps next fiscal at an outlay of Rs750 crore.

Mungantiwar said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had in three years energized 340,000 agricultural pumps at an expenditure of Rs3,014 crore. Under the farm loan waiver scheme announced in June 2017, the government has so far given approval to banks to transfer Rs23,102.19 crore directly into more than 4.6 million accounts of farmers, and of these, banks had transferred Rs13,782 crore into more than 3.5 million accounts till 6 March, he added.

Various heads under infrastructure get nearly Rs22,000 crore. The budget allocates Rs10,808 crore for construction of new roads and Rs7,235 crore for the energy sector. Mungantiwar informed the House that 64% of the projected land for the 700km Mumbai-Nagpur expressway had so far been acquired and work on the project was expected to begin by April 2018. The project would be completed in 30 months from the start, he said.

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