Maharashtra Government Slashes VAT on Fuel, Announces Special Schemes in New Budget


Mumbai: In a significant move, the Maharashtra government has announced a reduction in the value-added tax (VAT) on fuel in the Mumbai metropolitan region. This decision will lower petrol prices by 65 paise per litre and diesel prices by ₹2.60 per litre starting July 1, as stated by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar during the State’s budget presentation. The tax cut is expected to cost the state exchequer ₹200 crore.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde confirmed that the VAT reduction is included in the Budget and will take effect once it is passed by the State legislative assembly and council. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis praised the Budget for being realistic and not poll-centric, despite the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections scheduled for November 26.

The Budget presentation by Mr. Pawar began with a chant from the 17th-century bhakti saint Sant Tukaram Maharaj. During the session, Mr. Pawar announced several initiatives aimed at supporting farmers and women. Over 44 lakh farmers in Maharashtra will receive a waiver of electricity bill dues, and the State government will cover the costs of farmers’ electricity bills, providing free electricity to agriculture pumps up to 7.5 horsepower capacity. A provision of ₹14,761 crore will be allocated for this subsidy.

Additionally, onion farmers will benefit from subsidies amounting to ₹851.66 crore, provided at a rate of ₹350 per quintal for the year 2023-24. The government is also creating revolving funds of ₹200 crore each for the assured purchase of onion and cotton.

Budget Highlights:

  • Mukhyamantri Annapurna Scheme: Families of five will receive three free LPG cylinders annually.
  • Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin Scheme: Women aged 21 to 60 will receive ₹1,500 per month.
  • Scuba Diving Centre: An international-standard scuba diving centre will be established in Sindhudurg district, featuring coral sightings on sunken ships. The project, costing ₹20 crore, is expected to provide employment to 800 locals.
  • India Gems and Jewellery Park: Set on 25 acres in Mahape, Navi Mumbai, this park will include 2,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises with a ₹50,000 crore investment, generating one lakh jobs.
  • World Heritage Tag Proposals: The government is proposing 12 forts from the Shivaji era for UNESCO World Heritage status, along with Katal Shilpe in Konkan, Pandharpur Vari, Dahihandi Utsav, and Ganeshotsav.
  • Third Gender Policy: A new policy now includes the ‘Third Gender’ option in government recruitment and schemes, facilitating access for the third-gender community to state benefits.

The Monsoon session of the Maharashtra Assembly began on June 28 and will continue until July 12. The VAT cut and other budget announcements come as the State gears up for the upcoming Assembly elections, with the ruling Mahayuti coalition facing internal challenges.

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