Tamil Nadu finance minister Palanivel Thiagarajan on Friday presented the budget for 2022-23 and said that for the first time since 2014 the revenue deficit was to decrease by over ₹7,000 crore. Addressing the Assembly, Thiagarajan also spoke about the negative impact of Covid-19 and floods in the state, as well as unfortunate side-effects of restricions – like lockdowns – taken by the MK Stalin government to combat these crises.
“Though the revenue deficit since 2014 has risen every year in an intimidating manner, for the first time this year, it has been changed and Tamil Nadu’s revenue deficit is set to decrease by over ₹7,000 crore,” Thiagarajan said.
The state’s fiscal deficit is also set to decline – by 4.61 per cent to 3.80 per cent – he said.
“This government’s clear, focused action and administrative efficiency has made the turnaround possible,” the minister said, praising chief minister MK Stalin as the ‘foundation of action that symbolises ‘Dravidian model’ of growth’.
Thiagarajan said the key objectives of this year’s Tamil Nadu budget include enhancing the growth rate of the primary sector, strengthening the social safety net, making youth employable by specific interventions at school and college levels, and creating larger job opportunities by attracting new investments and encouraging existing entrepreneurs.
The budget also focuses on empowering women, eliminating poverty through inclusive growth, and the social-economic development of the marginalised among other areas.
Tamil Nadu faced widepsread flooding last year, prompting the government to say it will establish an advanced early-warning system consisting of radars, automated stations and rain gauges, and other instruments. An amount of ₹10 crore has been allocated for this.
With regard to education, which has been directly affected by the pandemic, the minister said, “The flagship remedial education programme of this government ‘Ilam Thedi Kalvi’, launched to bridge learning losses among children due to closure of schools because of the pandemic, is being implemented by 1.8 lakh volunteers in 38 districts.”
This will benefit 30 lakh students and will be continued into the next year with a budgetary allocation of ₹200 crore, he said.
On health, the government will upgrade 19 state-runhospitals at a cost of ₹1,019 crore.
The government will also establish the Tamil Nadu Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (TNIMHANS) by upgrading the Institute of Mental Health in Chennai. A provision of Rs.40 crore has been made for the first phase of this project, the minister said.
As Thiagarajan rose to deliver his speech, the Leader of the Opposition, AIADMK’s K Palaniswami tried to raise some issues. However, Speaker M Appavu said time would be given after the presentation. Nevertheless there was some ruckus in the Assembly, PTI reported, with some opposition members also raising slogans