Maharashtra govt partially lifts freeze on improvement spend

Written by Sandeep A Ashar
| Mumbai |

Published: July 16, 2020 3:50:58 am

covid-19 in maharashtra, maharashtra covid cases toll, Maharashtra capital works, maharashtra capital worksn freeze, maharashtra capital works freeze lift, indian express news Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (File)

Maharashtra, the state worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic within the nation, has partially lifted the freeze on capital works in a bid to stimulate financial development. In an order issued on Wednesday, the Uddhav Thackeray authorities introduced the easing of curbs it had beforehand imposed on improvement spend.

Projecting the financial scenario to stay gloomy this 12 months, and anticipating a pointy erosion in its personal revenues, the federal government had on May Four stayed all new works besides “operational bills” for Covid-19 management measures. Barring procurement of infrastructure and gadgets required for combating the pandemic, it had ordered all departments to withhold tenders for brand spanking new purchases and approvals for brand spanking new improvement works.

As per the May Four order, solely 5 departments – public well being, medical schooling, meals and drug administration, meals and civil provides and aid and rehabilitation – had been authorised to decide to new spending, which was additionally restricted to solely purchases for combating the outbreak.

But on Wednesday, state Finance secretary Manoj Saunik issued an govt fiat allowing all departments to sanction new improvement works permissible beneath the Local Area Development fund allotted to legislators. In March, Finance Minister Ajit Pawar had elevated the annual allocation of this discretionary fund from Rs 2 crore to Rs Three crore per legislator.

The order additionally said that the spend curbs is not going to be relevant for varied improvement works funded beneath the Rural Infrastructure Development

Fund (RIDF) scheme of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

With the federal government compelled to borrow to satisfy its month-to-month wage invoice, an skilled committee fashioned by Uddhav for financial revival has advisable funding of rural street and irrigation works by means of borrowings at 3.5 per cent curiosity beneath the RIDF.

With the federal government taking recourse to off-budget borrowings for all big-ticket infrastructure tasks – together with the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Corridor and the Mumbai Metro rail tasks – to maintain them off its stability sheet, the division additionally clarified that the spend curbs received’t apply to tasks being funded by means of such off-budget borrowings.

After presenting a Rs 4.34 lakh crore Budget for 2020-21 and an elevated allocation of 4.1 per cent over the revised estimate of 2019-20 in March, income losses because of the lockdown had compelled the state to impose a 67 per cent lower in improvement (scheme) spend in May.

This is the deepest ever lower in expenditure since Maharashtra’s formation. In his Budget speech for 2020-21, Pawar had estimated a complete capital outlay (spending which ends up in asset creation) of Rs 45,124 crore, however the extended lockdown and spend curbs have meant that the goal is unlikely to be met.

With the state’s income getting a leg-up in June, the federal government had additionally launched a tranche to write down off farm loans of eligible farmers beneath its waiver scheme. It has partially lifted the freeze on division transfers.

The authorities’s mop-up in June was Rs 19,200 crore as in opposition to Rs 10,000 crore in May and Rs 11,200 crore in April. A senior finance division official, nevertheless, clarified that the cap of 75 per cent of budgeted quantity will proceed for administrative bills.

Departments have been requested to prioritise spending on dedicated non-developmental liabilities, together with salaries, wages, pensions and servicing of debt. A senior official mentioned that the brand new relaxations had been geared toward demand restoration.

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