The budget presented by the Maharashtra Finance Minister Jayant Patil on Wednesday evoked mixed response with the Congress describing it as a progressive and development oriented while the opposition terming it as a budget devoid of any merit.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh described the budget as a progressive one which would greatly help common man and farmers as it has given special emphasis on agriculture -- irrigation, water conservation and housing.
"Since substantial provision of Rs 6,000 crore (Rs 60 billion) has been made availabe to irrigation sector, it would give a fillip to this sector and also remove the backlog in irrigation sector."
He said it would particularly benefit the backward regions of Vidarbha, Marathwada and other regions in completing their irrigation projects.
Affordable houses for the middle class can be possible as the Floor Space Index (FSI) is increased to 1.33 in suburban Mumbai, said Maharashtra State Finance Minister Jayant Patil.
Patil was talking to the media after the presentation of the budget. The FSI in suburban Mumbai would be increased to 1.33 and would be brought on par with FSI permissible in island city, Patil said.
For the additional 0.33 FSI, premium would be required to be paid on the basis of market value as per the ready reckoner, Patil said.
In order to bring down land and housing prices, the government has made this provision, so that more houses can be constructed to meet the demands, he said.
Patil said, the state also propose to introduce Bill for imposing tax on vacant land.
There is a possibility after the abolition of Urban Land Ceiling Act, land reserved in development plans may not be developed for extented periods. This will make difficult to provide affordable housing for lower and middle income groups, Patil said.
The tax will be levied on persons who obtain permission for development of the land but do not carry out development within a stipulated period.
NCP state president Aurun Gujarati welcomed the decision waiving the octroi on D class municipal corporations and also increasing the FSI in suburbs.
BJP however dubbed the budget as a directionless budget. BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said "this time also Patil has given focus only on announcements. The government is so incompetent that it has failed to spend the amount that it had earmarked for various projects."