AIADMK govt presents interim budget ahead of Assembly polls
Chennai: Ahead of the assembly elections likely in April, the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday presented an interim budget for 2021-22 with the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to a 17.64 per cent fall in revenue and a widening of fiscal deficit.
The budget, presented amid a boycott by DMK and its allies, projected a positive growth rate of 2.02 per cent in 2020-21 as it expressed hopes of the economy rebounding due to various sustainable policy decisions of the government.
Amid expectations of sops with elections around the corner, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who holds the Finance portfolio, allocated Rs 5,000 crore for the Rs 12,110.74 crore co-operative crop loan waiver scheme, announced earlier this month by Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
He also urged the Centre not to utilise the 15th Finance Commission recommended grants to substitute their share of funding for central sector and centrally-sponsored schemes.
"I reiterate my call to the Government of India to merge cesses and surcharges with the basic rate of tax so that the states receive their legitimate share of the revenue."
Also, the share of central taxes for the state indicated in the union budget at Rs 32,849.34 crore (2020-21) has been cut to Rs.23,039.46 crore in the revised estimates, the Deputy CM said.
While the main opposition DMK and its allies, including the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League, boycotted the budget presentation by staging a walkout, leader of the opposition M K Stalin, in a statement, condemned the government for Rs '5.70' lakh crore debt.
As Panneerselvam started his budget speech, DMK deputy leader Duraimurugan urged Speaker P Dhanapal to allow him to express a 'view,' which was disallowed.
While there was a din for a while, the opposition members eventually staged a walkout, boycotting the presentation of the interim budget, the last by the present AIADMK government before the polls.
Stalin, who did not participate in the House proceedings, assured 'growth' for the state after assuming power by winning the coming polls.
With the pandemic casting a shadow, the State's Own Tax Revenue (SOTR) is now expected to be Rs 1,09,968.97 crore in the revised estimates for 2020-21, a drop of 17.64 per cent as against Rs 1,33,530.30 crore anticipated as revenue in the budget estimate. The aggregate revenue receipts in revised estimates (2020-21) are estimated at Rs 1,80,700.62 crore, a decline of 17.63 per cent from budget estimates.
With the pandemic necessitating an additional expenditure on revenue account to the tune of Rs 12,917.85 crore primarily for health and relief, the total revenue deficit (2020-21) is estimated to be Rs 65,994.06 crore, a steep rise against the Rs 21,617.64 crore projected in the 2020-21 estimates.