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Maharashtra Budget: Tax on liquor increased; no VAT cut on petrol, diesel

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on March 08, 2021

Maharashtra finance minister Ajit Pawar arrives at Vidhan Bhavan to present state budget, in Mumbai on Monday, March 8, 2021. Photo: Vivek Bendre/The Hindu

Pawar announces 1 per cent sop on stamp duty exclusively to women

Finance Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar on Monday presented the second Budget of the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government without levying any new taxes, except for liquor. There is also no reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel, which has been a repeated demand from the industry.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi Government is a three-party coalition led by Shiv Sena in the State.

While, presenting the Budget in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Pawar said, “It is decided to classify country liquor into two separate categories as branded and non-branded country liquor while increasing State Excise Duty on branded country liquor by 220 per cent of manufacturing cost or ₹187 per litre, whichever is higher. Due to this, the State is estimated to get additional revenue of ₹800 crore,” he said.

The VAT rate on sale of liquor as prescribed in Schedule-B of VAT Act is being increased from the existing 60 per cent to 65 per cent. The VAT on sale of liquor as prescribed in Section 41 (5) of the VAT Act is being hiked from the existing 35 per cent to 40 per cent. Due to these measures, the State is estimated to get an additional revenue of ₹1,000 crore, he said.

Monday being observed as the International Women’s Day, Pawar in a display of gender sensitivity declared that a concessionof 1 per cent in stamp duty over the prevailing rate exclusively to women, provided the transfer of house property or registration of sale deed is in the name of a woman. A scheme for free travel of girl students in rural areas, from their villages to schools and colleges on Maharashtra State Transport buses was also announced.

Interest-free crop loans

To free farmers from interest burden, the government has decided to provide zero per cent interest crop loans to farmers who take crop loans up to a limit of ₹3 lakh and repay in time. The interest amount on the crop loan will be paid by the government on behalf of the farmers.

Farmers often bring their agricultural produce for sale in the premises of the Market Committees. Most of the premises of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee where farmers bring their agricultural produce are lacking innecessary basic facilities. It is imperative to provide these facilities. With this, ₹2,000 crore scheme for Strengthening of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) would be launched, he said.

He said that 33 per cent concession has been given to farmers having pending electricity bill and if the farmers pay 50 per cent of the remaining arrears by March 2022, an additional 50 per cent of the remaining amount will be waived off. In effect, ₹30,411 crore will be forgone by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which amounts to 66 per cent of the original pending bills of 44.37 lakh farmers.

Pawar also announced that under the policy of growing only those agricultural goods that are easily sold in the markets, the Balasaheb Thackeray Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project is being implemented with an investment of ₹2,100 crore for the creation of markets and value chain projects. To facilitate a fair price for their agricultural produce, 1,345 value chain projects are being implemented.

Infrastructure development

Pawar said that numerous passengers and goods are transported from other parts of the State as well as from the Konkan, Marathwada and North Maharashtra via Pune. This puts a huge strain on the traffic in Pune city. To avoid this, it is felt necessary to undertake the construction of a ring road around Pune to save fuel and time. For this, work of 170-km-long Pune Ring Road of eight-lane will be constructed at an estimated cost of ₹26,000 crore. The land acquisition work will be undertaken this year,

The State Cabinet, which was held today, has approved the construction of the Pune-Nashik medium high-speed railway line of 235 km. The speed of this train will be 200 km per hour and 24 stations are proposed on the line. The expected cost of the project is ₹16,039 crore.

 

Published on March 08, 2021

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