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Irrigation and drought mitigation dominate Maha interim budget


Press Trust of India Mumbai
Presenting an interim budget in a poll year, the BJP-led Maharashtra government has made maximum allocation of Rs 8733 crore for irrigation, with a focus on Vidarbha and Marathwada and the drought-prone regions, amidst Opposition's criticism of neglecting the plight of farmers.
Tabling the interim budget in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said an outlay of Rs 8733 crore has been proposedfor Water Resources departmentfor its expenditure for the first four months of Financial Year 2019-20.
The interim budget has an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 19,784 crore and a provision of special fund for farm loan waiver.
"An outlay of Rs 8733 crore has been made for irrigation projects with a special attention on Vidarbha and Marathwada, and drought-prone regions in rest of the state," Mungantiwar told the House.
The state government had in October last year declared drought in 151 talukas in 26 of total 36 districts.
A provision of Rs 1500 crore has been made for the state government's flagship Jalyukt Shivar scheme, which proposes to make 22,000 villages drought free by May 2019.
Another major chunk of allocation at Rs 8500 crore goes for road development.
Underlining the government's focus on irrigation and agriculture, Mungantiwar said, "A provision of Rs 5187 crore has been made for micro-irrigation, wells and farm ponds alongwith the works under Employment guarantee scheme (EGS). An outlay of Rs 3498 crore has been proposedfor various agriculture schemes".
An outlay of Rs 900 crore has been proposedfor electric connections to agriculture pump sets.
"An outlay of Rs 3700 crore has been made for road development under hybrid annuity model while a provision of Rs 2164 crore has been made under Chief Minister Gram Sadak Yojana," the minister said.
Reaching out to various sections of society when Lok Sabha and assembly elections are drawing closer, the government made a provision of Rs 572 crore for an educational scholarship scheme for economically backward class students.
The scheme--Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulk Scholarship--was started for the benefit of students of economically weaker sections studying in recognisedvocational and higher educational institutions.
"This (allocation) will helpin effective implementation of the Centre's decision for 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections (among General category)," Mungantiwar said.
The government has also made a provision of Rs 1105 crore under the Central Road Fund Scheme and of Rs 350 crore for the NABARD-assisted road development scheme.
The interim budget also allocates Rs 6306 crore for development of basic energy infrastructurefacilities, Rs 101 crore for modernisation of bus stations, and Rs 5210 crore for concessions in power tariff for agri consumers.
A fund of Rs 2400 crore has been proposed for development of smart cities and AMRUTmission.
On the health front, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya scheme and the Mahatma PhuleJan Arogya Scheme have got allocation of Rs 1021 crore, and the National Health Mission Rs 2098 crore.
An allocation of Rs 465 crore has been proposed for various schemes under the minorities department, Mungantiwar said, adding that a provision of Rs 2921 crore has been made for the department of Women and Children.
"An outlay of Rs 1097 crore has been proposed for providing nutritious food to children between age of six months to three eyars, pregnant as well as lactating mothers," the finance minister said.
The government has also proposed an amnesty scheme for settlement of pending and disputed taxes, interest, fines and late fees.
The scheme will benefit traders and help government recover pending taxes.
An outlay of 375 crore has been proposed for police housing.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 7:20 PM IST

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