MUMBAI: In a move that could be beneficial to farmers in the state, Maharashtra government is set to announce measures to increase per hectare farm yield in the state budget to be presented on Friday, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has said.
“Fragmentation of the farmland and not so impressive per hectare farm yield are the two key areas affecting the growth in the agricultural sector of the state which we are planning to address this year,” Mungantiwar said here on Thursday. He was speaking to media after tabling the Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2017-18 in the legislative Assembly.
According to the survey, Maharashtra’s economic growth rate has slipped to 7.3 per cent in 2017-18 from 10 per cent during 2016-17. This is primarily due to the agriculture sector which has registered a negative growth of 8.3 per cent in 2017-18.
The sharp fall in the agriculture sector, from the 12.5 per cent growth in 2016-17 is a prime cause that has affected the economic growth rate of the state, the finance minister said.
“Maharashtra ranks 10th among the states in the average size of operational land holding, which is just 1.44 hectare. It is a major hindrance to the growth of the agriculture sector. Community farming is one of the remedies and the government will try to promote more such measures,” Mungantiwar said.
He also pointed out that the state expenditure under 37 heads related to agriculture has increased from Rs 24,712 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 83,184 crore in 2017-18 and said that the trust would remain so in the year to come.
The survey points out that the state has registered an impressive increase of 17.8 per cent in the revenue receipts over last year while keeping the fiscal deficit limited to Rs 38,789 crore. This would keep the fiscal deficit to GSDP ratio at 16.6 per cent, Mungantiwar added.
According to the survey, per capita income of Maharashtra is estimated to increase to Rs1,80,596 in 2017-18 from Rs. 1,65,491 in 2016-17. Mungantiwar said that Maharashtra leads other major states including Karnataka in per capita income.
According to the survey, the industry and services sectors are expected to grow at 6.5 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively, while the percentage of debt stock to GSDP was expected to be 16.6 in 2017-18 as compared to 16.4 in 2016-17.
The increase in the debt stock is primarily due to the crop loan waiver scheme worth Rs 34,000 crore announced by the state government last year, the finance minister pointed out.
The survey also stated that with Rs 3,94,886 crore (33.2 per cent of the total investment), the IT sector continues to generate maximum investment in the state, followed by the fuel and the metallurgical industry with an investment of Rs 1,43,138 crore and Rs 1,02,081 crore respectively.