In view of an alarming financial position, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the Finance and Planning department, has sought a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray next week to brief him and decide the future course of action. The state government has a revenue shortfall of Rs 49,000 crore for April-December, 2020, compared to the corresponding period last year. In December 2020, the state had collected a revenue of Rs 27,000 crore against Rs 31,000 crore in December 2019.
For April-December, the state government has borrowed a record Rs 73,500 crore against Rs 18,000 crore for the corresponding period last year. As far as Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation dues is concerned, up to November, it was reported at Rs 25, 148 crore, which has been forwarded to the Centre for its early disbursement. For December, another Rs 3,000 crore dues will be added.
Pawar told the Free Press Journal, “I will brief the CM on the present state of finances as he heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. A detailed presentation will be made to bring into his notice the revenue collection and shortfall. Besides, the steps to be taken to handle the remaining fiscal will also come up for discussion.”
A Finance Department officer said the government has limitations in further increasing the revenue collection in view of the present economic slowdown and slow recovery of the economy. “The department will focus on cutting down the expenditure for January, February and March to tide over the situation. The revenue shortfall will continue to be there, but efforts will be made to go in for austerity measures and control on expenditure as there is a rush for spending funds by various departments in January, February and March,’’ he added.
He said the state government on May 4, 2020, had imposed a 67% cut in planned expenditure in view of fund crunch. However, the government has relaxed those curbs as various departments had argued that they had completed their 33% spending. “Therefore, focus will be to control the expenditure. Only essential spending will be permitted, while those with a long gestation period can wait,” he noted.