In a Budget that focussed especially on women and farmers, Fadnavis also announced the Jalyukta Shiwar Yojana 2.0.
This scheme of Fadnavis discontinued by the Thackeray government.
The budget for the state of Maharashtra was read out on Thursday, 9 March afternoon by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the post of Finance Minister.
The budget, while targeting development, farmers, women, girl child, infrastructure, tourism and even religious development, was also focused at the upcoming local body polls and the forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
The budget had Devendra Fadnavis written over it. Most of the projects that were announced were those that Fadnavis had either started during his tenure and those that were halted by the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government.
First of them was the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan which was implemented in 22,500 villages between 2015 and 2019.
20,544 villages became water-sufficient and 27 lakh thousand cubic meter water storage capacity was created. 39 lakh hectares of agriculture got a protected irrigation facility.
This scheme was discontinued during the Thackeray government. Fadnavis, via this budget, launched the Jalyukta Shiwar Yojana 2.0, which will be implemented in 5,000 villages.
The budget focussed on farmers and several schemes targeted the agriculture sector. One of the biggest schemes was the state government's programme of giving Rs 6,000 per year in addition to the Rs 6,000 that farmers will receive from the central government.
The scheme named ‘Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi’ will supplement the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi Yojana.
The State government will provide an additional amount of Rs 6,000 along with Rs 6,000 per farmer per year from the central government. In this way, an amount of Rs 12,000 will be deposited in the farmer's account every year. This is predicted to benefit 1.15 crores farmer families. For this, an outlay of Rs. 6,900 crores is proposed in 2023-24.
The other big announcement for farmers was where they will get insurance by paying mere Re 1 as registration. There is a provision to pay two per cent of the insurance premium by the farmer in the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme of 2016 by the Central Government.
The insurance premium for their share will be paid by the state government itself and now even this burden will not be placed on farmers. Farmers can register on the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Yojana portal by paying a nominal fee of Re.1. An annual outlay of Rs 3,312 crores will be made by the state government for this scheme.
Gopinath Munde was a mass leader and even after so many years of his demise, his name has a recall value amongst the rural voters and especially the farmers. Fadnavis announced the Gopinath Munde Shetkari Accident Insurance Scheme which will be implemented to provide insurance cover to the families of accident-affected farmers, through insurance companies.
Earlier, farmers had to follow up with insurance companies to get the insurance claim amount. Now, the State government claims that under the ‘Gopinath Munde Shetkari Suraksha Sanugrah Grant Yojana’, the family of the accident-affected farmers will be given a grant of up to Rs 2 lakh.
Fadnavis via his budget has attempted to reach out to the girls and women in the rural as well as the urban areas.
He announced a new scheme called Lek Ladki. For yellow and orange ration card holder families, a subsidy of Rs 5,000 will be given after the birth of a girl child, Rs 4,000 in class I, Rs 6,000 in class VI and Rs 8,000 in class XI. After completing 18 years of age, a cash amount of Rs 75,000 will be given to the beneficiary girl.
Women will be given 50 per cent discount on ticket fares in State Transport Corporation buses. Also a woman buyer has been given a one per cent concession in stamp duty for the purchase of a residential unit. As per the existing condition, a woman cannot sell a residential unit to a male buyer for a period of 15 years. The government has said that this condition will be relaxed.
37 lakh rural women have been promised means of livelihood through self-help groups. Bamboo Cluster in Latur District and Kolhapuri Chappal Cluster in Kolhapur District will be developed through Self Help Groups. Unity Mall will be established in Mumbai as announced by the Central Government in the union budget.
At present, employed women have to pay Profession Tax if their salary is more than Rs. 10,000 per month. It is proposed to enhance this limit to Rs. 25,000 to increase the purchasing power of women. Hereafter, women with a monthly salary of up to Rs. 25,000 will not have to pay any Profession Tax.
There are about 81,000 Asha volunteers and 3,500 group promoters working in the State. The present honorarium of Asha Pravartaka is Rs 3,500 while Promoter gets Rs 4,700 as honorarium. This monthly honorarium will be increased by Rs 1,500 each.
Shivaji Maharaj has been at the centre of Maharashtra's politics, and Fadnavis started his speech by invoking Shivaji. This is the 350th year, as per the Shiv Shaka, of the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, An outlay of Rs 350 crores will be made available to organize the Shiv Rajyabhishek Mahotsav during the period from June 2 to June 9, 2023.
An outlay of Rs 50 crores will be given for setting up ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Theme Park’ at Ambegaon, Haweli Taluka, in Pune District.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest vote puller for the BJP and its alliance partner and the budget had to have a project named after Modi.
Fadnavis announced that the 'Modi Awas Gharkul Yojana’ will be launched by the state government for construction of 10 lakhs houses for other backward class beneficiaries in the next three years. An outlay of Rs. 12,000 crores will be made available in the next three years. Of these, 3 lakh houses will be completed in the year 2023-24 at a cost of Rs 3,600 crores.
Fadnavis also emphasized on the metro projects, along with the expressways and airports. The budget has several heads for the infrastructure projects that will not only connect the urban centres but also villages.
Fadnavis via his budget has shown that while Eknath Shinde is the chief minister and running the state, the development of the state will follow the approach he carried it out during his first tenure as the chief minister.
The farmers are a big vote bank, and women have been core voters of the BJP in both urban and rural areas, and via this budget Fadnavis has managed to reach out to both the constituencies.
Varun Singh, is a Mumbai-based journalist and tracks politics and other important news from the western region of the country. Varun has spent close to 18 years in journalism.
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