TN Deputy CM O Panneerselvam presents deficit budget for 2018-19 fiscal

Strategies will help TN economy pick up in next fiscal.

Chennai: Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who holds the finance portfolio, presented a deficit budget for 2018-19 fiscal on Thursday but exuded optimism that the economy will pick up the next fiscal and signals are there in the growth of the gross state domestic product (GSDP).

The Budget projected a revenue deficit of Rs 17,490.58 crore and a fiscal deficit of Rs 44,480.73 crore.

“Taking the pay revision into account, salaries and allowances are estimated to be Rs 52,171.18 crore while pension and other retirement benefits are estimated to be Rs 25,362.20 crore in the Budget estimates for 2018-19. The total revenue for the state, including transfers from the Central government, are estimated at Rs 1,76,251.48 crore for the next fiscal and the revenue expenditure for the next fiscal is projected to be Rs 1,93,742.06 crore, thus leaving the revenue deficit of Rs 17,490.58 crore,” he said.

“We are aware that the public aspirations are very high but resource constraints continue to persist. This government has overcome two major obstacles viz. implementation of UDAY scheme and pay panel recommendations amidst these financially challenging times. The silver lining in the dark cloud is that there are signs of economic revival. This is expected to improve our resources and the present revenue deficit which is largely due to the additional expenditures arising out of UDAY scheme and pay panel implementation, is expected to narrow down in the coming years,” Mr Pannerselvam explained.

This implies that the State's borrowings is expected to be brought under control and more resources will be made available for welfare schemes and development expenditure.

The fall in tax revenue growth, Mr Panneerselvam, said, has been significant in 2017-18, owing to the reduction in commercial and state excise tax. The government’s total debt is expected to be Rs 3.55 lakh crore next fiscal end, which will be 22.29 per cent of the GSDP.

The state’s own tax revenue has been revised to Rs 98,693.24 crore in the revised estimates for 2017-18 fiscal and has been projected at Rs 1,12,616.41 crore in the Budget estimates for 2018-19. It is estimated to increase to '1,12,616 crore in the budget estimates for 2018-19. The revenue expenditure during 2018-19 is estimated at Rs 1,93,742 crore, which shows a growth of 11.22 per cent over revised estimates 2017-18.

The Budget was presented in the state Assembly amidst walkout by the major opposition DMK who turned up wearing black shirts. The DMK members walked out condemning the AIADMK government for “not pressurising the Central government” to set up the Cauvery Management Board. Mr Panneerselvam made a slew of announcements worth thousands of crores of rupees in the budget including '27,205 crore allocation in the budget for school education department, while it was announced that 3,000 new buses would be acquired for state transport corporations.

The Athikadavu-Avinasi water project will be implemented at a cost of Rs 1,789 crore, Mr Panneerselvam announced. About Rs 11,000 crore has been earmarked for health department while youth welfare & sports has been provided Rs 191.18 crore allocation, while it has been proposed to expand state highway of 54 km and district highway of 34 km at Rs 80 crore.

Earlier, as Mr Panneerselvam, who entered the Assembly House holding a suitcase with a photo of late CM J. Jayalalithaa, along with Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to present the Budget for 2018-19, was given a rousing reception by the AIADMK members who thumped the desks. Though he had held the finance portfolio during Jayalalithaa’s tenure and even when he was the CM, Mr Panneerselvam presented the Budget for the first time after joining hands with Mr Palaniswami last year. Fisheries minister D. Jayakumar, who held the Finance Minister portfolio, presented the Budget last year.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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