Maharashtra’s Rs.42,000 crore annual plan – an increase of over Rs.4,084 crore over last year’s Rs.37,916 crore – for 2011-12 has been approved by the central government, an official said Friday.  The plan was finalised at a meeting between Chief Minster Prithviraj Chavan and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahulwalia in New Delhi Thursday, the official said,

The amount includes Rs.500 crore which will utilised for nutrition (Rs.200 crore) and improvements in urban infrastructure facilities (Rs.300 crore).

The state delegation had presented a plan of Rs.41,500 crore, or 9.2 percent higher than last year’s approved plan and a significantly higher increase over the actual expenditure then.

Chavan apprised the plan panel of series of stringent measures taken during the last financial year (2010-11) as a result of which the revenues increased by 24 percent over the previous year (2009-2010).

This enabled the state to end with a lower revenue deficit of Rs.5,688 crore as compared to the budget estimates of Rs.7,654 crore.

Chavan said that last year, the Planning Commission had granted a plan of Rs.37,916 crore against the state’s proposal of Rs.33,934 crore.

Besides, he said that the central government did not agree to hike the borrowing limit from 3 percent of the state GDP to 3.5 percent, but the total borrowings actually permitted were only 2.4 percent.

Accordingly, the state plan expenditure for 2010-11, including central-sponsored schemes was expected to be around Rs. 33,200 crore, Chavan said.

Giving an overview for the current year, the Maharashtra chief minister said the government is making serious efforts to raise additional income and expected buoyant revenues.

“This would include restructuring of the state’s excise duty on alcoholic beverages, stamp duty on securities transactions, and increase in VAT on declared goods following the amendment to the central sales tax,” he said.

Speaking of the excellent monsoon crops, Chavan underlined the fact that Maharashtra faces the most crucial strategic challenge on the agriculture front.

Despite its falling share in the state GDP, 55 percent of the population was still dependent on agro-sector, he said, urging the central government to extend financial support to boost the sector.

Demanding railway services in the rural sector, Chavan also urged consideration of new aviation proposals to put Kolhapur, Amravati, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Yavatmal, Osmanabad, Baramati, Karad and Latur on the country’s air map.

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