Ajit Pawar presents populist budget ahead of Maharashtra polls; slashes petrol, diesel tax for Mumbai region

The government also decided to give three gas cylinders per household per year free of cost.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 12:39 IST

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Mumbai: With Maharashtra assembly elections round the corner, the BJP-led Maha Yuti government in Maharashtra on Friday rolled out an ambitious scheme for financial help of women, electricity bill waiver for farmers, stipend-based training programme for youth, a slew of schemes for weaker sections.

The government also decided to decrease value-added tax (VAT) on fuel in the Mumbai metropolitan region, which will make petrol cheaper by 65 paise per litre and diesel by Rs 2.60 per litre.

The government also decided to give three gas cylinders  per household per year free of cost. The benefit of this scheme will be given to 52,16,412 families.

In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Maha Yuti (NDA) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A) and being the last budget for the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar dispensation adopted a populist approach. 

Tabling the Budget 2024-25, Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister, who holds the Finance portfolio, rolled out the Mukhya Mantri Mazhi Ladki Bahin Yojana, with an annual outlay of Rs 46,000 crore.  

“This is a scheme for our daughters and sisters. The government will provide Rs.1500 per month to eligible women between 21 to 60 years of age, for the overall progress of women, including economic independence, self-reliance, health and nutrition,” Pawar, the NCP President said.

The eligibility conditions for this scheme is yet to be announced. 

The government also announced the Mukhya Mantri Baliraja Vij Savlat Yojana’ to provide relief to farmers who are in distress and need assistance.

“The government has decided to bear the burden of the electricity bills of the farmers and to provide free electricity to agriculture pumps up to 7.5 horse power capacity. This will help 44.06 lakh farmers. A provision of Rs.14,761 crores will be made available in the form of subsidy,” he said. 

The government also announced Mukhya Mantri Yuva Karyaprashikshan Yojana to provide on-the-job training in industrial and non-industrial establishments to 10 lakh youths every year, with the aim of providing employment opportunities to the needy youth and make available trained manpower to industries. 

Under this scheme, each trainee will be given a stipend up to Rs.10,000 per month by the government. The expenditure for this scheme is expected to be around Rs.10,000 crores every year. 

He also said that every year 50,000 youths will be imparted training to disseminate the information about the government schemes to the people.

Various schemes for farmers like Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi, One Rupee Crop Insurance, Gopinath Munde Shetkari Suraksha Sanugraha Anudan, Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Prakalp, Balasaheb Thackeray Agrobusiness and Rural Transformation Project, will be strengthened further, while pending amounts under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjmukti Yojana would be disbursed immediately.

Meanwhile, the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A) said that the budget has nothing specific. 

“The budget is just a rain of announcements,” said Congress state unit President Nana Patole. It is a fake attempt to take all sections of society along. It is what (Deputy Chief Minister) Devendra Fadnavis calls 'false narrative'," Shiv Sena (UBT) head Uddhav Thackeray said.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Ambadas Danve on described it as "political hypnotism" and claimed regions like Marathwada and Vidarbha did not get anything.

“The government will impose heavy taxes on the people through the committee formed for systematic implementation of schemes," said Danve, a senior Shiv Sena (UBT) leader. 

NCP (SP) chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase questioned the feasibility of budgetary provisions given the debt burden and said the government had no strategy to attract business investment and reduce unemployment. “The populist but hollow promises would not sway the people ahead of the elections,” Tapase added.

Published 28 June 2024, 12:39 IST

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