Maharashtra CM Fadnavis defends small size of Cabinet

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Devendra Fadnavis
Nagpur, Nov 3: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has defended the small size of his Cabinet saying that he had talked to Union Minister Arun Jaitley about the issue before the swearing-in ceremony.

Answering a question as to why his 10-member Cabinet does not conform to Art. 164 of the Constitution, Fadnavis said that the issue had already come up and he had sought Jaitley's opinion on the issue before the Oct. 31 oath-taking ceremony. Art. 164 prescribes that a state's Cabinet of ministers could consist of at least 15 per cent of the strength of its Assembly.

Talking about the state's economy, Fadnavis told reporters here that a 'white paper' on its financial status would not be brought out since it might paint a negative image of Maharashtra. However, he said that a "status report" on the state's financial status would be prepared and made public since Maharashtra has run up a debt of more than Rs 3,00,000 crore.

"There is nothing wrong in taking loans, but the big question remains as to how the loan amount was spent and invested. If it is not utilised properly, then eyebrows are sure to be raised," he said. Fadnavis expressed concern over the state's revenue deficit, which is to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore.

Later in the day, he presided over a review meeting of various ongoing projects, particularly Mihan. He said he has directed officials to hold one-to-one discussions with 49 industrial groups who acquired land at the Mihan site but did not show further interest. He added that out of 58 industrial groups which had acquired land, only nine groups have begun work at the site.

He also directed officials at the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), which is the nodal agency for Mihan, to submit a report soon in the matter. He announced that Ceat Tyres has shown an interest in setting up a Rs 2,000-crore plant, which would employ 1,100 people, at an initial investment of Rs 450 crore. The state government has issued a letter of intent for the project today, he added.

PTI

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