Presenting deficit budget with no new taxes in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday, Finance O Pannerselvam blamed the State’s financial woes on the Centre and the implemention of the GST.
Speaking after tabling the budget for 2019-20, Pannerselvam said “I have no hesitation in saying that the Centre has let us down”, by reducing financial allocations.
Claiming that Tamil Nadu was one of the best performing States in implementing the GST, he said it was yet to get its due share of revenue of Rs 5454 crore as well as GST compensation of Rs 415 crore for the financial year 2018-19.
The delay by the Centre in clearing the dues had impinged on the State’s finance, he declared. He also pointed to decline in Tamil Nadu’s share of Central taxes after the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
The budget laid special focus on farmers’ distress and the Minister made several announcements in this regard, particularly allocation of Rs 6,000 crore for food subsidy programmes.
He said Rs 10,500 crore would be set apart for crop loans, up from Rs 8,000 crore the previous financial year. He also announced interest waiver for farmers clearing their loans in time.
Pointing out that 21.70 lakh farmers have been enrolled till date--the highest in the past three years--under the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Mr Panneerselvam said more crops would be notified under the scheme , which would be expanded to cover crop loss due to cloudburst, hailstorm, landslide and inundation, besides natural fire.
To promote solar power, the Minister announced 90 per cent subsidy for pumpsets energized by solar power. It would also provide 10,000 solar pump sets of HP power to farmers.
The Minister set apart Rs 2,30 crore to give to people hit by Gaja cyclone .
Mr Panneerselvam said to strengthen communication between coastal areas in the wake of the Ockhi Cyclone, Satellite and other modern communication instruments would be given to 80 clusters of deep sea fishing boats . He said Rs 927.85 crore has been provided for this.
The Miniser allocated Rs 11,000 crore for rural development against Rs 10, 000 for the health sector
The Minister set apart Rs. 2,681 crore for of Chennai Metro Rail expansion project and another Rs 2,000 crore for building a multi-level parking facility in the city.
Pannerselvam said fiscal deficit would be Rs 44,100 crore, or over two per cent of the GDP, and hoped it would be met through better tax realisations.