While presenting Tamil Nadu’s budget for the financial year 2022-23, Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan Friday switched from speaking in Tamil to English for about 10 minutes during his speech that lasted for over two-hours.
Towards the end of the speech, Thiagarajan said, “The Finance Minister presented the Union Budget in English. I congratulated her at that point because big corporate giants are keenly monitoring the developments, and I said it will be good if the Budget is presented in English.”
“Similarly, we are from Tamil Nadu, a state that attracts most investments in the country. So, with the permission of the Speaker, I will read a few paragraphs on the finances of the state government in English so that it reaches all national and global media and investors.”
While the Finance Minister highlighted the major initiatives and schemes of this government in Tamil, he elaborated on the aggregate fiscal position in English.
In the budget, Thiagarajan said that for the first time since 2014, the state’s revenue deficit will fall by over Rs 7,000 crore in 2022-2023 and that the fiscal deficit will decline from 4.61 per cent to 3.80 per cent. He said the revenue growth that the state witnessed during the value added tax (VAT) regime had not been achieved since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.
“The Covid pandemic has severely affected the finances of all states. At this juncture, the GST compensation period is coming to end on June 30, 2022. Consequently, in the coming financial year, Tamil Nadu will face a revenue loss of approximately Rs 20,000 crore,” the minister said. However, he said that despite the financial strain, the government had fulfilled many of its poll promises for the poor.
Apart from this, the budget has allocated Rs 17,901.73 crore for health and family welfare, with plans to upgrade 19 government hospitals into district hospitals. The government will fully fund the undergraduate education of students who have studied in government schools from Classes 6 to 12. Taking into account that the number of girl students from state-run schools pursuing higher education is low, the government has decided to convert its marriage assistance scheme to a scheme for higher education assistance, under which around six lakh girls studying in Classes 6-12 in government schools will get Rs 1,000 per month till they complete undergraduate degrees or polytechnic or ITI diplomas without interruption.