Mumbai, Mar 25: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Wednesday said that cow slaughter ban was advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and it was the Congress government which had enforced it in 1976 in states like Andhra Pradesh.
"Congress leader Motilal Vora and Gandhian Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari had written to the state government seeking ban on cow slaughter. We liked the idea and accepted it," he said while replying to a two-day debate on state budget in the Legislative Assembly.
A study of impact of cow slaughter ban in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh showed increase in production of milk and organic composts, the minister said. The criticism that the ban will affect employment is not true, he said.
The minister said that his maiden budget focusses on development of agriculture, farmers, industry, education, tourism and employment generation and would also facilitate completion all pending irrigation projects.
The revenue deficit had increased because of scarcity, hailstorm, unseasonal rains and electricity subsidies, he said.
This year, the capital expenditure has been increased to over Rs 28,000 crore and in five years it would reach Rs 40,000 crore. "We will ensure that while increasing capital expenditure, there would be no revenue expenditure hike," the minister said.
Admitting that 1.77 crore beneficiaries above poverty line (APL) are not getting foodgrains at concessional prices under the food security act for the last few months, Mungantiwar said it was because there was shortage of food grains with the state.
"We expect more share from the Centre. The issue would be resolved soon as we would take up the matter in the cabinet meeting," he said.
Mungantiwar said the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Scheme is a good programme and would be continued by the new government.
"It is true that the budgetary provision for scheme is less than last year. We are expecting more funds from the Centre for the purpose as we want the scheme to be extended nationwide. If that does not happen, the budgetary provision would be hiked by the state government," he added.