MUMBAI: With just weeks to go before assembly elections are announced in Maharashtra, the Devendra Fadnavis government on Wednesday made no less than 25 policy announcements, resulting in a financial burden of nearly Rs 20,000 crore.
The decisions were taken at one of the last cabinet meetings under this regime. Since poll dates are expected to be announced before the second half of September and the model code of conduct will come into force then, the chief minister will likely preside over the cabinet for one or two meetings more before his government assumes a caretaker role.
The projects cleared by the BJP-Sena cabinet range from a Rs 13,874 crore irrigation scheme in Buldhana to a Rs 1,531 crore allocation for solar agriculture pumps.
To a Rs 2,100 crore grant for the Nashik metro rail, Rs 992 crore for expansion of Nagpur’s Mihan project, to an enhanced honorarium for artistes and doubling of stipends for medical college interns and Rs 320 crore as aid for unaided schools. In addition, the government will stand guarantee for loans worth Rs 150 crore sanctioned for four cooperative sugar factories by the National Cooperative Development Corporation.
“Today we took 25 decisions. More important proposals are on the cards in the next cabinet meeting, which will be the last of the present government,’’ a senior cabinet member told TOI. Fadnavis took time off from his state-wide Mahajanadesh Yatra to attend the meeting.
Elaborating on the decisions, the cabinet member said the 26-km-long metro will improve the state of public transport in Nashik, which is fast developing. “Government of India, state government, Nashik municipal corporation, Cidco and MIDC will finance the much-delayed project,’’ he said.
The Jigav irrigation project in Vidarbha too has been delayed owing to lack of funds. Now the cabinet has approved revised estimates worth Rs 13,874 crore and proposed to complete it in a time-bound period. “It will help to bring more land under irrigation in the Buldhana-Akola region,’’ he said.
As for the decision to raise the honorarium, it is likely to benefit nearly 27,000 artistes as well as those in the literary field. It will result in additional burden of Rs 80 crore. Stipend of interns has been hiked from Rs 6,000 to Rs 11,000 per month, which will cost the exchequer Rs 70 crore. Another Rs 304 crore will be required to meet the expenditure on grant in aid to unaided primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. It will benefit 43,112 teaching and non-teaching staff in 146 schools across the state.
The state cabinet also approved a proposal of Rs 1,531 crore for the CM’s solar agriculture pump plan, under which 75,000 solar agriculture pumps will be installed in the next 18 months.