Belying doomsayers, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be an opportunity for Maharashtra and the state exploited it to triumph with flying colours in terms of new micro-small-medium enterprises, employment and investments, as per an RTI reply.
The RTI response, given to Pune businessman Praffull Sarda also reveals that Maharashtra maintains its leading position in the country with regards to new industries, jobs and investments.
During the 30-month reign of the Shiv Sena (UBT)-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (November 2019-June 2022), the state got 18,68,055 new MSMEs.
This was in contrast to the five-year rule of the BJP-led government of then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (till October 2019) when the state got 14,16,224 MSMEs.
Similarly on the employment front, during Thackeray’s 30-month rule, 88,47,905 jobs were created compared with 62,36,878 jobs in Fadnavis’ five-year regime.
“This is a huge difference of 451,831 MSMEs or 35 per cent higher, and a difference of 26,11,027 new jobs or 42 percent more, during Thackeray’s government as compared to Fadnavis’ full tenure,” said Sarda.
As per the RTI data, at the height of the pandemic when Thackeray ruled, the state recorded 621,296 new enterprises registered with a total employment of 44,60,149 (2020-2021).
The following year, the number of new businesses shot up from 621,296 to 894,674 though new jobs fell marginally, from 44,60,149 to 42,36,436 (2021-2022), said the response.
After the Thackeray government was toppled, the number of new enterprises fell sharply from 894,674 to 734,956, and the fresh employment opportunities also plummeted sharply from 42,36,436 to 24,94,691 (2022-2023).
The RTI response stated that between July 2020-March 2023, a stupendous 22.50 lakhs new MSMEs were registered in Maharashtra, and nearly 1.12 crore new jobs were created promising economic prosperity and employment for the state.
“The official figures clearly indicate that the MVA government performed much better despite all hurdles like the pandemic, a hostile BJP-led opposition at the Centre and in the state, and other political or health emergency related challenges that hit the country hard,” Sarda said.
The data of previous years suggests that during the five-year tenure of Fadnavis, the state’s economic growth engine was robust and puffing away speedily, overtaking many other states in India.
The state attracted 54,045 enterprises with investments of Rs 16,74,238-Lakhs that helped create 525,735 jobs (2015-2016). This increased in leaps and bounds over the years touching 611,561 businesses with investments of Rs 70,15,525 lakhs that generated 28,73,764 new jobs (2018-2019).
After the Thackeray government came to power, the economic engine continued to bulldoze ahead in full steam, as 704,171 businesses with an investment of Rs 71,01,067 lakhs helped boost the employment market by creating 30,26,406 new jobs (2019-2020).
“This has proved hollow the allegations of the current regime of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar that the state was ‘at a standstill during the pandemic when the MVA ruled’. The reality is that there seems to be an all-round decline now,” claimed Sarda.