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HIGH ON POETRY, FINANCE MINISTER SUNIL TATKARE’S DEBUT BUDGET FALLS SHORT ON POLICIES

sunil-tatkareAs far as debuts go, this was an unimpressive performance by State Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare presented a colourless budget. Though he acknowledged many issues that plaguing the state – heavy debt, slow growth of income, the growing urban-rural divide and cities bursting at the seams – he provided no solution to these problems. Worse, his budget expects a revenue deficit of Rs 7,654 crore. But Mr Tatkare doesn’t seem to be interested in plugging this gap. Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare’s state budget 2010-11 contained beautiful poetry but little policy. It also contained at least a dozen references to Raigad, finance minister Sunil Tatkare’s hometown, for which he was booed by the opposition and, embarrassingly, the treasury benches as well. The budget was stark in its display of a lack of political will in the ruling Congress-NCP coalition to draw up a long-term roadmap for Maharashtra’s development. Tatkare’s two-hour presentation lacked conviction. He dwelled more on the policies of his predecessors Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil. Opposition leaders as well as cabinet ministers said the budget lacked direction. Sunil Tatkare’s budget for 2010-11 has a whopping revenue deficit of Rs 7,654 crore and a mountain of debt of close to Rs 2 lakh crore. Unraveling a plan of Rs. 33,935 Crore, the government said it has received massive financial support from the Centre. High on the government’s agenda is an outlay of Rs. 3,020 Crore for a tribal sub-plan followed by Rs. 7,366 Crore for the irrigation sector. The reaction to the state budget was on the expected lines. While chief minister Ashok Chavan termed it an

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