Vijay Wadettiwar, the Leader of the Opposition, has raised concerns about alleged favoritism and unjust spending by the Chief Minister in relation to the newly formed Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA). This comes as MITRA, which serves as the state’s think tank for comprehensive data analysis and decision-making across various sectors, is set to move to a larger office space in the Nirmal Building, a short distance from its current location in the state-owned New Administrative Building opposite Mantralaya.
Wadettiwar criticized the state government’s decision to allocate a substantial amount of ₹2.56 crore towards the rent of the new MITRA office, deeming the expenditure as “completely unjust.” MITRA was established in November as an institution working along the lines of NITI Aayog, with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde serving as its Chairman and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as its Co-Chairman.
“The government has approved ₹21 lakh per month or ₹2.56 crore per year for the new MITRA office. This represents an unjust expense. Chief Minister Shinde has already appointed his friends to the body, and it seems he now intends to extend favors to them,” Wadettiwar asserted.
The decision to relocate MITRA’s office was purportedly driven by increased workload and the need for additional manpower to support the institution’s activities, as explained by a Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) official.
However, Wadettiwar dismissed this justification, suggesting, “This appears to be a new scheme by the MahaYuti government to deplete state coffers. MITRA was established with the aim of facilitating swift and inclusive development in the state through collaboration with the private and non-government sectors. Regrettably, government funds seem to be directed towards private sector friends in this instance.”
The allegations of financial impropriety and favoritism in the allocation of resources to MITRA are likely to fuel political debates and calls for transparency in government spending in Maharashtra. The Chief Minister and the government may face increased scrutiny as they respond to these allegations in the coming days.