The Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government on Thursday presented its maiden Budget for 2023-24, in which it proposed Rs 6,000 assistance to farmers and Re 1 crop insurance scheme while also offering relief in professional tax to working women, 50 per cent discount on ticket fares in state-run buses to women and a new scheme for the girl child.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also the state Finance Minister, presented a revenue deficit budget of Rs 16,222 crore in the Legislative Assembly with a total outlay of Rs 1,72,000 crore.
Mr Fadnavis, who read out the budgetary provisions from an iPad instead of a conventional paper document, said the state's tax revenue is expected to be Rs 2,98,181 crore.
The budget proposed the 'Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi' scheme, under which every farmer in the state will get Rs 6,000 in addition to the Rs 6,000 given under the central scheme (PM Kisan Samman Nidhi) every year.
"Under the 'Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi', an amount of Rs 12,000 will be deposited into the account of farmers every year, which includes Rs 6,000 from the Centre. An additional outlay of Rs 6,900 will be made in 2023-24. As many as 1.15 crore farmer families will benefit from it," Mr Fadnavis said.
Announcing a Re 1 crop insurance scheme for farmers, the deputy CM said the government will bear the financial burden of Rs 3,312 crore.
"Farmers can register on the Pradhan Mantri crop insurance scheme portal by paying a fee of Re 1. The insurance premium will be paid by the government and not farmers. Annual outlay of Rs 3,312 crore will be made by the state government for this scheme," Fadnavis said.
Under the earlier crop insurance scheme, the farmers had to pay two per cent of the crop insurance premium. Now, the farmers will not need to pay anything as the government will pay the premium amount, he added.
"A new scheme - 'Lek Ladki' - will be launched for the empowerment of girls. For yellow and orange ration card holder families, a subsidy of Rs 5,000 will be given after the birth of a girl child, followed by Rs 4,000 in (when she is in) Class 1, Rs 6,000 in Class 6 and Rs 8,000 in Class 11. After completing 18 years of age, a cash amount of Rs 75,000 will be given to the beneficiary girl," he said.
Women will be given a 50 per cent discount on ticket fares in Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses, Fadnavis said.
He announced a waiver in professional tax for women with a monthly salary of up to Rs 25,000. Earlier, women with a salary of more than Rs 10,000 had to pay professional tax.
He also announced 'Shakti Sadan', a new scheme to provide shelter to women in distress, who faced sexual exploitation or are facing domestic violence, will be launched with the assistance of the central government by combining the Swadhar, Ujjwala schemes.
The survivors will get shelter, legal aid, medical care and counselling, he said, adding that 50 Shakti Sadans will be started under this scheme.
A woman buyer currently gets one per cent concession in the stamp duty registration for the purchase of a residential unit, but she cannot sell that unit to a male buyer for 15 years. Now, this condition has been relaxed, he said.
'Divyang' (specially-abled) people will also get a waiver in professional tax. The definition of 'divyang' will be revised by amending the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, he said.
The budget reduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from 25 per cent to 18 per cent in Mumbai, Pune and Raigad.
"The first budget of the 'amrit kaal' is based on 'panchamrit' (five) principles," said Mr Fadnavis, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) joined hands with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction to form a government in the state in June 2022.
"The first 'amrit' is sustainable farming-prosperous farmers, the second one is inclusive development of all sections of the society, including women, tribals, backward class and OBCs. The third one relates to development of infrastructure with substantial capital investment. Fourth one is employment generation for competent, skilled and employable youth and the fifth is environment-friendly development," he said.
In its discourse, the BJP describes the period between the country's 75th Independence year to the 100th as "amrit kaal".
Mr Fadnavis also announced that the Jalyukta Shivar Yojana 2.0 will be started and implemented in 5,000 villages.
The first version was implemented in 22,500 villages between 2015 to 2019.
"As many as 20,544 villages became self-sufficient in terms of water," he said.
The scheme was launched by Mr Fadnavis when he was the chief minister (2014-19) under the government comprising the BJP and the Shiv Sena (undivided). But it was discontinued when the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation was in power post-2019.
As per the budgetary estimates, the revenue receipts are Rs 4,49,522 crore, while the revenue expenditure is estimated to be Rs 4,65,645 crore. A provision of Rs 5,47,450 crore has been made for expenditure. The fiscal deficit has been put at Rs 95,500.80 crore.
In the Legislative Council, the budget was read out by School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar.
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