29 March 2017 | Last updated 01:03 AM


 
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More taxes on liquor, lottery
Pandurang Mhaske | Saturday, 18 March 2017 AT 10:56 PM IST
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Mumbai: Maharashtra’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the State Budget in the Assembly on Saturday which did not add any new taxes except on liquor and lottery. Though Mungantiwar couldn’t announce any hope for the debt-ridden farmers in the State Budget for 2017-17, he also avoided making any big announcements which would add a burden on the State exchequer. The FM’s focus was entirely on the agricultural sector.

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar (R) and Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar arrive at Vidhan Bhavan to table Maharashtra State budget 2017-18 on Saturday.
As announced in the Budget from April 1, liquor is set to cost more, as the State has proposed to hike the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 23.08 per cent to 25.93 per cent on MRP of the country and foreign liquor. While tax on weekly lottery has been increased from Rs 70,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

In a ‘farmer-friendly’ budget, Munguntiwar allocated approximately Rs 15,000 crore for the agri-sector in the financial year 2017-18. In a budget which had no new schemes, the government chose to fund only ongoing projects and refrained from announcing an increase in any of the State taxes.

Mungantiwar presented the budget in the Assembly, while Minister for State Deepak Kesarkar presented it in the Legislative Council. Amid continuous demand from the Opposition for loan waiver for the farmers, the finance minister did not announce any such provision for the farmers. He announced that there is more investment on the infrastructure in agriculture and allied sectors. 

After the Budget announcement, Opposition legislators burnt copies of the State Budget outside the Assembly alleging the budget is not for the common man. Though the government did not announce any financial aid to  farmers, the finance ministers assured that the government employees will be given Seventh Pay Commission.

“For the Seventh Pay Commission, the government need Rs 21,500 crore. This decision will be taken at an appropriate time after State Pay Reforms Committee’s study on Seventh Pay Commission recommendations,” he said. 

The government allocated Rs 8,233 crore for irrigation projects for farmers. The finance minister also made provision of Rs 100 crore for micro-irrigation schemes.

To promote cashless transactions, the State government has brought down to zero, from the earlier 13 per cent the tax on card swiping machines. The State has made allocations for infrastructure projects, including the development of airports and construction of metro corridors.

Mungantiwar earmarked Rs 710 crore of the fund for Metro in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur cities and allocation of Rs 7,000 crore to the Public Works Department for better roads across State. In a bid to develop infrastructure in the State, the finance minister announced setting up of a special purpose vehicle to raise Rs1 lakh crore.

 
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