Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray completed a year in office as head of a Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Friday. It has been a torrid year, with political attacks by his former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, a health crisis in the form of Covid, which laid Maharashtra low, and poor relations with the Centre. On Friday Thackeray, 60, spoke to reporters on a range of issues. Edited excerpts:
Let them keep predicting; they are busy and happy. I do not want to spoil that. The time in which we are running the government is different (because of the pandemic). The world has faced such a situation after a century. Whoever was running the government before did not face such difficulties.
Even though the party or ideology of people running the government is important, it is the duty of the government either at the Centre or in the state to work impartially. From September, the Centre stopped the supply of things such as PPE kits and N-95 masks. This led to an increase in the state’s financial burden by around Rs 250-300 crore. Also, the GST and tax devolution dues of around Rs 38,000 crore are still pending with the Centre. We also did not receive any cooperation in handling natural calamities such as the Nisarga cyclone, the floods in Vidarbha, and incessant rainfall.
We need a plan as there are five companies making vaccines. What temperature does it have to be stored at? How many doses are required? So far there is no clarity on anything.
When GST came we raised some of the issues through BMC . Mumbai, for instance, has a special status in terms of the scale of tax it generates. Therefore Mumbai should get additional help to further develop the city. If there are any lacunae in GST, it should be fixed to make it a foolproof system. If this is not possible, then the old tax regime should be brought back. If by centralising something, justice is not given to all (states) then what is the point of doing it.
During the budget session (in 2019), the Covid-19 started spreading in the state, so we had to curtail it (the session). While everything was shut, the Maharashtra government signed memorandums of understanding worth ₹50,000 crore. We have decided to target investment worth ₹1 lakh crore in one year. It is important to note that though the wheels [of economic activities] slowed down, they have not stopped. We will see the fruits of our efforts in the coming days.
We started with a decision on developing Raigad district and allocated funds for this. Another big decision was a farm loan waiver up to ₹2 lakh crore. Whatever promises we made, we have nearly fulfilled all of them. The farm loan waiver was a big decision. We don’t make announcements of doubling and tripling farmers income or say acche din aayenge.
Spurce: Hindustan Times