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'Additional' budget presented in Maharashtra

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, MAY 27. The Maharashtra Finance Minister, Jayant Patil presented today a please-all `additional' budget containing a huge deficit of Rs. 7,303.35 crores with sops for the common man, agriculture and trade and no additional levy.

Mr. Patil told reporters later that he expected to make the deficit good by a rise in revenue because of the tax-cuts offered, besides from borrowings. The deficit is expected to rise since this is the additional budget and not a final one, which may get formulated after a new Government is in office. Elections to the Assembly are barely four months away.

The proposed annual plan for 2004-2005 is Rs. 19,983.90 crores. It includes special development packages for three of the five regions of the State where the ruling Congress-NCP combine did not do well. Vidarbha gets Rs. 318.30 crores, Marathwada Rs. 588 crores and Konkan Rs. 300 crores. The thrust is on irrigation and water supply.

The budget withdraws the sugarcane purchase tax, makes farm implements priced below Rs.10,000 tax-free and exempts tractor-trailers from annual motor vehicle tax of Rs. 1500. Drip irrigation system components and parts are exempted from resale tax. No tax would be levied on honey and cashew juice.

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