Mumbai: Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday said that the Maharashtra budget lacks long-term vision and fails to put forward a well-defined road map for the recovery of the economy of the state.
"The economic survey report for Maharashtra tabled in the Assembly stated that agricultural growth is projected to be a dismal -- 12.3 percent and manufacturing is also down to a mere 0.5 percent. The report also stated that Maharashtra's public debt has reached a staggering Rs 3,00,477 crore.
"In the context of this report, with both agriculture and industry slowing down, AAP had expected the government to come up with a budget that would bring a clear vision towards re-establishing Maharashtra as a pre-eminent state as regards economic growth and industrial output," an AAP spokesperson said in a statement here.
"We welcome the Maharashtra government's initiative to curb the deficit to 3,357 crore but it may be recalled that the previous government had predicted a similar amount last year though the actual deficit had ballooned to 13,883 crore, which begs the question as to what the concrete and specific measures are that this government is taking to ensure fiscal discipline.
"AAP was also disappointed that this budget lacked focus on job creation, promoting small and medium enterprise, thereby failing the aspirational youth of the state.
"We welcome the lowering of rates for electricity, which is something that the AAP government has done in Delhi, acknowledging the high input cost of power and the burden on consumers due to wholesale profiteering by 'Discoms'. We would urge the government to audit discoms and further slash electricity rates just as the AAP government has demonstrated so successfully.
"AAP also welcomes the government decision to abolish LBT (local body tax), something which AAP has vociferously opposed. Mobilisation of revenue by enhanced premium on additional FSI is interesting but unclear as to its impact on affordable housing in cities.
"Increase of excise duty on country liquor to 200 percent is welcome but it is important to understand whether the intention of the government was to merely increase revenue or curtail the consumption of liquor and the results of alcoholism which have wrecked havoc among countless families in the state," it said.
AAP pointed out that women and women's groups at local levels must be involved in this process, as the party has endeavoured through its 'Delhi dialogue' under the Delhi government, which is led by its chief, Arvind Kejriwal.
"It is also heartening to know that women drawing salary of less than Rs 10,000 per month have been exempted from professional tax and this will go a long way in boosting women's empowerment, a cause very dear to us," it said.
The budget also talks about allocation of Rs 2,493 crore to the construction of roads with absolutely no mention of 'toll' and its elimination, which was a major electoral promise by this government.
There is also no plan on stopping monetary wastage and leakages in the public service delivery system, caused mainly by rampant large-scale corruption, which AAP claimed, constituted an unfulfilled poll promise of the government.
"We understand that Maharashtra has a huge debt burden of over Rs 3.04 lakh crore and an annual interest burden of about Rs 23,000 crore. Maharashtra government should have been more sensitive to farmers' issues keeping other non-important issues on hold and enhanced allocation to irrigation should have been a big priority of the government.
"But by reducing allocation to irrigation projects from Rs 8,215 crore in 2014 to Rs 7,272 crore in the present fiscal shows gross insensitivity to the farmers' issues in Vidarbha, Marathwada and western Maharashtra.
"The finance minister has assured to complete a mere 38 out of the approximately 800 irrigation projects under implementation in Maharashtra, which will require close to Rs 80,000 crore, but there is no mention of how the goal will be accomplished," it said.
AAP said it looks forward to the government vigorously and honestly implementing the budgetary proposals in the coming year and assured that it would give its complete cooperation in this regard.