TN Finance Minister presents Budget, says revenue deficit set to decline

Main opposition AIADMK staged a walkout and boycotted the Budget presentation

The DMK government in Tamil Nadu on Friday presented the Budget for 2022-23 in the Assembly and Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said that for the first time since 2014, the revenue deficit is set to decrease by over Rs 7,000 crore.

After raising slogans, the main opposition AIADMK staged a walkout and boycotted the Budget presentation, the second by the DMK government after it assumed power in May 2021.

Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the floods and the government action to tackle the situation, Thiaga Rajan said such aspects had a negative impact on the already stressed state's finances.

Though the revenue deficit since 2014 has risen every year in an intimidating manner, 'for the first time' this year, it has been changed.

In view of the prudent fiscal management, the overall revenue deficit has decreased to Rs 55,272.79 crore in revised estimates as against the budgeted Rs 58,692.68 crore. "This government will take all necessary measures to increase the efficiency in tax collection."

The 15th Central Finance Commission recommended a fiscal deficit up to 4.5 per cent of GSDP to States in 2021-22. "However, the fiscal deficit as a percentage of GSDP has reduced to 3.80 per cent in the revised estimates from 4.33 per cent in the budget estimates."

Pointing to growth in state economy, the Minister said the State's Own Tax Revenue is estimated to be Rs 1,42,799.93 crore and the State's Own Non-Tax Revenue Rs 15,537.24 crore. The share in Central Taxes component is estimated at Rs 33,311.14 crore. The total revenue receipts are expected to be Rs 2,31,407.28 crore. The total revenue expenditure is expected to be Rs 2,84,188.45 crore.

In 2022-23, the net public debt is projected at Rs 90,116.52 crore. On March 31, 2023, the total outstanding debt would be Rs 6,53,348.73 crore and the Debt-GSDP ratio 26.29 per cent. "This is within the limits set by the 15th Central Finance Commission."

This government's clear, focused action and administrative efficiency has made the turnaround possible, he said.

The Minister said Chief Minister M K Stalin is the foundation of such action who symbolised the 'Dravidian model' of growth, that underlined self-respect, harmony and social justice driven all-inclusive growth.

He said Rs 2,531 crore for waiver of agricultural loans, Rs 1,000 crore for waiver of jewel loans and Rs 600 crore for waiving self-help group loans, totalling Rs 4,131 crore has been allotted.

The "Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Memorial Marriage Assistance Scheme" is being transformed as the "Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Higher Education Assurance Scheme."

"All girl students who studied from Classes 6 to 12 in government schools will be paid Rs 1,000 per month directly into their bank account till the uninterrupted completion of their undergraduate degree, diploma and ITI courses. The students will be eligible for this in addition to other scholarships."

The state discom TANGEDCO's financial condition is a matter of grave concern as it continues to incur huge losses every year. An allocation of Rs. 13,108 crore has been provided for the government to take over 100 per cent of its losses for the current year (2021-22). Further, an allocation of Rs.9,379 crore has been provided in the budget to reimburse the tariff subsidies being provided by the government.

A basic tenet of the Constitution is that 'India is a Union of States', he said. "We are deeply concerned at the persistent attempts to erode the federal architecture of our polity." The government would continue to fight for the legitimate rights of all states.

The financial year is likely to be challenging and replete with uncertainties. The ongoing war in Ukraine can disrupt the global economic recovery. Global supply disruptions and demand shocks, including those triggered by the war, can adversely impact the state's tax revenue.

The government would contribute Rs 50 crore to the 'Emerging Sector Seed Fund' for making equity investments in Tamil Nadu based startups, he said.

As soon as the Finance Minister began his Budget presentation, Leader of Opposition K Palaniswami tried to raise some issues.

Speaker M Appavu said nothing would go on record and added that time would be given to the opposition following the budget presentation and they could voice their views later.

Din prevailed in the House for a while as principal opposition party members including deputy leader O Panneerselvam were on their feet seeking to raise some matters. Slogans were also raised by opposition members.

The Speaker urged them repeatedly to resume their seats and said that the business for March 18 is confined to budget presentation. Both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, who were former Chief Ministers knew the practices well and they should protect the Assembly traditions, the Speaker said. Later, led by Palaniswami the AIADMK staged a walkout, boycotting the budget presentation.

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