In some welcome news for government employees, Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said ahead of the state budget that the government is committed to making financial provisions of Rs 21,500 crore for the Seventh Pay Commission payout for employees. The state budget session started on Monday and the budget will be presented on March 9. Mungantiwar, who said that the main focus of budget 2018-19 would be investments in agriculture and employment, said that the government is also committed to fulfilling the promise of loan waivers.
“Similarly, our commitment to fulfil the promise of loan waiver of Rs 34,000 crore remains unchanged,” he said. The finance minister revealed that currently, the government is spending a total of Rs 30,000 crore on interest rates while an additional amount of Rs 27,000 crore is spent on pensions. He said that state’s overall debt has gone past Rs 4 lakh crore. The Maharashtra budget session will go on till March 28 and the Economic Survey would be presented in the Assembly and the Council, one day before that.
Talking about the revenue deficit, Mungantiwar said that the government would try to ensure that better fiscal discipline is maintained. “I concede we have major financial constraints and we have to make provisions and identify our priorities within the given space. Higher borrowings to tackle the financial challenges is not ruled out but we also would ensure we maintain better fiscal discipline,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader added that the revenue generation was affected by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the government has to consider the limitations and responsibilities while fixing its priorities.
He said that even though GST has made it difficult to raise funds, effective fiscal management coupled with curtailing excess expenditure would be the policy to make things better. “The five years’ compensation period provided to states following GST should not be a cause for alarm. Moreover, Maharashtra may not require the compensation from the next year,” Mungantiwar added.