Chennai: For a change, the Dravidian parties known for their rhetoric in chaste Tamil, resorted to English debate in the Assembly on Monday over the state of the TN economy, with two business savvy members countering each other, while finance minister O. Panneerselvam concluding the arguments with an explanation in Tamil.
DMK’s new member P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan, speaking on the budget discussion, switched over to English after a brief introduction. Expressing concern over the rising fiscal deficit of the state, he said the revenue of the state had fallen while the expenses were going up.
When AIADMK member K. Pandiarajan, intervened, DMK members were on their feet protesting vehemently. They insisted that Thiagarajan was delivering his maiden speech in the Assembly and there should be no intervention.
Speaker P. Dhanapal said the AIADMK member was just seeking a clarification and pointed out that the DMK member Thiagarajan is ready to respond. The Speaker asked the DMK members, “Why the DMK members are blocking a healthy debate?”
Panneerselvam, who intervened, said the government had planned to raise the individual income of people to 10,000 dollars and explained its roadmap in the vision 2023 document.
Thiyagarajan, who continued, said the government had failed not by design but by execution and said the debt burden too was growing. Pointing out that the AIADMK government had been elected consecutively for the second time, he said the government should use this continuity to make courageous decisions, which could be unpopular.
He said the government should do what is right rather than what is popular. He said the government’s spending had gone up due to the welfare schemes and not by payment of salary to government employees.
Pandiarajan, who countered the DMK member again, said the government’s expenses could rise due to the possible implementation of the seventh pay commission. He also added that the DMK member too had admitted that the AIADMK government was spending more money for the welfare of people.
‘Slow economic growth hits state’s revenue’
Concluding the debate, Panneerselvam said the decrease in the collection of revenues was due to the sluggish economic growth throughout the world.
The government could not stop spending on the welfare measures as it boosts human resources and leads to economic growth. “For example, spending on education leads to economic growth which raises the capacity of the government to repay the debts,” he explained. Giving statistics, he said “the debt of Tamil Nadu is 17.4 per cent of its GSDP. The debt burden is 28 per cent in AP, 23 per cent in Karnataka and 26 per cent in Kerala. Even during the DMK government, the debt per cent was 17 to 18 per cent”.
He said the debt burden of the Tamil Nadu was being exaggerated and asserted that the state was administering the economy well....