Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday hinted at a state funds with curtailed provisions, aside from a number of sectors, as a result of Covid-19 pandemic-induced shortfall in income.
At a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Patrakar Club of Nagpur, Pawar stated, “The state is likely to fall short of expected tax revenue by about Rs 75,000 crore due to the revenue deficit caused by pandemic-induced inactivity in both services and industrial sectors… The Centre has not released the Rs 25,000 crore GST share. Thus, the Rs 4.5 lakh crore state budget may be curtailed by about Rs 1 lakh crore.”
He added, “Rs 1.5 lakh crore has to compulsorily go towards salaries and pension of government employees. So, we may well be left with Rs 2 lakh crore. So, the budget may have constraints of allocations. But we will not cut provisions of certain departments like police, health, food and civil supplies, rehabilitation and PWD.”
Pawar clarified on the controversy over his advise to his colleagues to pause and suppose earlier than making any assertion about monetary points. On a query associated to his response to Energy Minister Nitin Raut’s announcement about energy invoice waiver, Pawar stated, “I only said that in the present circumstances with several constraints… everyone must say anything by properly assessing the financial implications of the announcement on the budget.” He added, “Finance Minister is always seen as the villain of the piece.”
Pawar added, “We have not cut the district planning committee funds and MLAs’ fund despite the Centre stopping the Rs 5 crore MP fund due to pandemic-induced constraint.”
On vaccination, Pawar stated, “The Centre should bear the expenditure for corona vaccination. First it had said that it will come free for all citizens. Then it said it will cover three crore people, subsequently enhancing the figure to 30 crore.”
On whether or not the state authorities will scale back taxes on petrol and diesel for shoppers’ profit, Pawar stated, “Centre had progressively increased prices of petrol, diesel and LPG despite crude oil prices dropping to historic lows. We will discuss the issue before taking a call. If I say anything about it here today, my colleagues will tear into me (mala fadun khatil).”
On the alleged controversial speech by Sharjeel Usmani at Elgaar Parishad 2021, Pawar stated, “It was wrong to say what was said there. It was dangerous for the society and was completely unnecessary. There was a former High Court judge on the stage when the speech was made. The organisers and those on the stage should have prevented him from speaking further. We have instituted a probe and will take strict action if there was violation of any laws or Constitutional provisions.”
Asked if the federal government will refuse permission to carry the Elgaar Parishad subsequent 12 months, Pawar stated, “We will tell them not to allow such speeches. Only then permission will be granted.”
Pawar dominated out any menace to the Maha Vikas Aghadi authorities within the state. Referring to “operation lotus” speak by BJP leaders, Pawar stated, “There is no danger to the MVA government as long as Uddhav Thackeray, Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar are working in tandem.”
On the problem of Nagpur’s MIHAN undertaking, Pawar stated, “We will hold discussion on MIHAN with a view to complete the project. I will request Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to look into it.”
He additionally slammed the Centre for treating agitating farmers in Delhi with contempt. “They fixed nails on the roads to harass the farmers. Do you remember any time in the past when such a thing had happened? The Opposition leaders, including Supriya Sule, were barred from meeting the farmers. Is it wrong to meet the farmers? They wanted to raise the farmers’ issue in Parliament after hearing the farmers first. What was wrong in that,” Pawar requested.
The senior NCP chief additionally exuded confidence that the ruling alliance can have its means with election for Speaker’s submit, which has fallen vacant after appointment of present incumbent Nana Patole as state Congress chief. “It is a common practice that the ruling parties choose someone belonging to their ideology. We have solid support of 170 members in the Assembly. So we will choose the person appropriately,” Pawar stated.
On Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari not clearing the record of 12 nominations for Legislative Council, Pawar stated, “He is occupying the highest Constitutional position. It is up to him to take whatever time he requires to sign the list.”
When identified that the federal government has threatened to move courtroom if the Governor doesn’t clear the record, Pawar stated, “Issuing a warning and actually moving the court are two different things.”