Previous govt. gave disproportionate funds, says Ajit Pawar

Aid: Ajit Pawar has said the government has so far sanctioned ₹11,340 crore under the crop loan waiver scheme.

Aid: Ajit Pawar has said the government has so far sanctioned ₹11,340 crore under the crop loan waiver scheme.   | Photo Credit: Shashank Parade

Finance Minister counters BJP’s charge that budget neglected regions in State

Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday countered the Opposition’s charge that the State budget had neglected the needs of regions such as Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra. Mr. Pawar also accused the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government of reducing funds to other regions and allocating disproportionate funds to Nagpur, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s home district.

‘Adhered to norms’

During a discussion on the State budget, Mr. Pawar said the previous government did not follow the fund allocation norms. He said, “We adhered to the distribution norms. You took money from others and gave it to your districts. We didn’t do it.” Mr. Pawar said based on the size of the district, population, and human development index, Nagpur should have received ₹288 crore. However, it was allocated a total of ₹525 crore.

Mr. Pawar said his predecessor Sudhir Mungantiwar also allocated an excessive ₹160 crore to his home district of Chandrapur and Mumbai (city), Mumbai (suburbs), Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Pune, Sangli, Solapur, Kolhapur, Nashik, Aurangabad, and Amravati did not receive their due funds.

Stating that the budget is meant to give justice to all regions in the State, Mr. Pawar listed out various allocations made for the development and welfare of farmers and other groups in Vidarbha, Marathwada, and north Maharashtra. He said the government has so far sanctioned ₹11,340 crore under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule crop loan waiver scheme and disbursed money in 17.80 lakh accounts of farmers. He said the scheme has benefited six lakh farmers in Marathwada (₹3,600 crore), 3.87 lakh farmers in north Maharashtra (₹2,375 crore), 3.83 lakh farmers in Vidarbha (₹2,575 crore), and 3.43 lakh farmers in western Maharashtra (₹2,400 crore).

Mr. Pawar on Friday said the limit for legislators to purchase cars has been raised from ₹10 lakh to ₹30 lakh. The government will pay the interest for car loans.

Later, speaking to reporters outside the Assembly after his party boycotted the business in the House, Mr. Fadnavis said Mr. Pawar’s reply was “misleading” and merely a political speech.

Mr. Fadnavis said, “When we talked about the injustice meted to Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra, Mr. Pawar tried to suggest that funds are being given to these regions by allocating just regular funds.”

The State government only gives guarantee when cotton is purchased from farmers annually, but Pawar is “creating an illusion” of doing a favour to the State’s cultivators, he alleged. Mr. Fadnavis said, “He said road and health works will be carried out, including in the Vidarbha region. If he thinks doing routine work means development of these regions, then it is completely wrong.”

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:05:11 AM |

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