Maharashtra is the number one state in industrial development and foreign direct investment, and even its per capita income is the highest across the country, said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday during the announcement of the state budget. Chavan also said Maharashtra is not lagging behind in any sector.
Reiterating Chavan, deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar too assured, "We are very much ahead as far as overall development of the state is concerned. The toll and Local Body Tax issues will be resolved soon."
However, Opposition leader Eknath Khadse said the state government has presented a lacklustre budget.
"After its decimation in the Lok Sabha polls, the state's ruling coalition has presented a budget with a defeatist mentality. There is no hope in this budget for the people. The state government failed to meet people's expectations. It is totally bankrupt, has raised almost Rs3.4 lakh crore and is paying a huge interest on this massive loan amount," Khadse said.
He also said that to pay the salaries of state employees, the government will have to raise loan every month. "Earlier, state workers used to get their salary in the beginning of the month, now they get it in the middle of the month. It is unfortunate," he added.
Pawar, however, said the state has done significant development in the agriculture sector. "This year, the agriculture growth is almost 4% against the -1% previous year. Our per capita income has gone up over Rs1 lakh, which is the highest in the country. It shows we are ahead in all directions," said Chavan.
Pawar said to generate employment and promote industrial growth, the state has decided to develop the infrastructure. "For this, the state is supplying round the clock electricity and giving 20% concession. It will help the industry remain competitive. Besides, most airline companies were forced to take their aircraft to other countries for repairs. However, we decided to waive off taxes on small repairing parts of aircraft so that repairs happen within Maharashtra itself," he added.
Khadse criticised the Rs4,000-crore deficit budget. "Once we come to power, we will publish a white paper on loan and various crucial areas where Congress-NCP has done corruption," he said.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said Maharashtra received only Rs10 lakh crore as investment in industrial development, while Gujarat got almost Rs12 lakh crore. "Our state government has exempted taxes on unbranded and unmanufactured tobacco, but there is no concession with regard to essential commodities. There is no announcement of new projects and schemes in the budget," he said.