“We are working towards the aim of making Maharashtra a trillion dollar economy by 2025. The economy is being managed well,” said state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar while presenting the state budget. Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, though, said, “The government has only announced populist schemes. This is more an election manifesto than a budget.”
With the state experiencing a drought, the budget has a strong rural focus. The allocation for agriculture and animal husbandry at Rs.10,611 crore is 18.7% higher than in 2018-19. The allocation for water resources is 7.4% higher. The revenue department which handles relief assistance has an outlay of Rs.13,666 crore—up 19.5% from 2018-19. The rural development department has received Rs.19,544 crore, which is 17% higher than last year.
The outlay for farmers includes Rs.6,410 crore as assistance for natural disasters, Rs.210 crore for the Gopinath Munde accident insurance scheme, Rs.100 crore towards encouraging group farming, Rs.100 crore for cashew processing and Rs.390 crore for Bhavantar Yojana.
Perhaps to balance the grant of reservation to the Maratha community, the state has extended largesse to the Dhangar or shepherd community and to OBCs. As much as Rs.1,000 crore has been allocated for Dhangar community, which is demanding inclusion in the scheduled tribes category. The budget has announced Rs.200 crore for OBC corporations, besides a scholarship scheme and hostels.
An allocation of Rs.100 crore is made for employment of women and youth from the minority community and Rs.200 crore for a self-employment scheme for widows, abandoned and divorced women.
The budget has announced recruitment of 4,649 constables and 50% hike in honorarium for kotwals, rural revenue officials. It has made a provision to hike the honorarium of the village sarpanch and allocated Rs.200 crore for it to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It has allocated Rs.100 crore for houses for differently abled.