Maharashtra to demand a special package for Mumbai’s infrastructure projects where the government is set to demand from the 15th Finance Commission a special package worth Rs 50,000 crore for Mumbai’s infrastructure. The state will also demand Rs 25,000-crore special package for backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada. “People from all over the country come to Mumbai and the country must think about the city’s infrastructure. The same reason will be presented before the commission while raising the demand,” state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said. The minister reasoned that Mumbai’s contribution to India’s GDP is around 2.5%, while 30.5% of India’s total tax collection comes from the financial capital.
The BJP-led state government has set the ball rolling for 14 big-ticket infra projects such as new Metro corridors and sea links that are worth around Rs 1.40 lakh crore. While most of these projects will be funded with the help of loans from international funding agencies, the state will have to give some funds as viability gap funding for these projects. For Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, the state finance department has cited poor human development index (HDI) and low per capital income as reasons for seeking the special package. Of the total 19 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, the per capita income of 16 districts is below the national average, said an official from the finance department.
“The Constitution of India admits that Vidarbha and Marathwada are backward regions, along with two other regions, Kutch and Saurashtra, and are entitled to a special package,” said the finance minister. “Except Nagpur in Vidarbha and Aurangabad in Marathwada, all other districts are backward. We will make our case before the commission with statistics.” Singh and other members of the commission will meet state officials to discuss several issues such as the slow pace of decentralisation, inter-regional disparity, debt sustainability, and financial and socio-economic concerns, among others. The commission will also hold consultations with leaders of political parties, representatives of trade and industry and urban local bodies to understand their issues.