Chennai: The AIADMK government on Thursday presented its first budget after winning the assembly polls held in May, allocating funds generously to fulfill election promises and ongoing welfare schemes despite a fall in the state's tax revenue growth rate and a soaring revenue deficit.
Presenting the Revised Budget for 2016-17 fiscal, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam told the House that Rs 1,680.73 crore has been set aside for co-operative loan-waiver scheme.
Loan waiver for farmers was among the much-publicised electoral promises of the AIADMK.
"The tentative principal and interest outstanding due to be waived has been assessed at Rs 5,780.92 crore which will be compensated by the government with interest in five years to cooperatives which will benefit 8,35,360 small and 8,58,785 marginal farmers."
He said during 2016-17, the cooperatives will extend fresh crop loans to an extent of Rs 6,000 crore.
He identified water resource management, housing, poverty reduction, a clean Tamil Nadu and skill development as five key "State Missions"; he said good governance will be a key focus of the government.
He announced that the unit cost of milch cow, for free distribution to beneficiaries, has been revised from Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000.
Rural development budgetary allocation has been enhanced to Rs 21,186.58 crore and the state has been using MGNREGS for creating assets including farms ponds and construction of new toilets, he noted.
"The government will take up housing on a massive scale and in keeping with the electoral promise, the state will construct 10 lakh houses in the next five years under various schemes," he said, adding that Rs 689 crore has been allocated for the 'Housing for All' scheme.
He asserted that agriculture and allied sectors, strengthening urban infrastructure including transportation, promotion of MSMEs, tourism, and infrastructure development, industrial investment through corridor based development, education and health for all, social security with focus on women and children will be special focus areas of development.
As promised in the election manifesto, a new scheme will be launched for dry-land farming, assistance to fishermen families has been enhanced to Rs 5,000 per family (during lean season and relief during ban period) and Rs 223 crore has been allocated in the budget for it.
The state would embark on a mission for water resource management to restore water bodies and revive "Kudimaramathu."
'Kudimaramathu' is an ancient practice in which citizens took part in renovation work. "Rs 100 crore is set apart as incentive fund to revive Kudimaramath, which will be enhanced substantially with NABARD assistance," the minister said.
Allocating Rs 13,856 crore for the energy sector, he said, "as promised in election manifesto 13,000 MW and 2,500 MW of thermal and hydel power respectively will be added to the existing generation capacity besides 3,000 MW of solar power.
The first-ever Global Investors' Meet held last year was a "stupendous success," with Rs 23,258 crore investments having materialised and generating employment for 48,145 persons.
On key revised budget figures, he said total revenue receipts of the state government including Central transfers is estimated at Rs 1,48,175.09 crore for 2016-17. Revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 1,64,029.56 crore, and capital expenditure Rs 24,679.38 crore. Due to continuing global economic slowdonw, tax-revenue growth has been slow, he said.
"The ripple effects of economic stagnation have had severe repurcussions on the state resources due to a slowdonw in the growth of tax revenue."
Although state economy has been showing signs of recovery, "there is significant fall in State's Own Tax Revenue growth rate, particularly in Commerical Taxes because of the reduced sales tax realisation due to fall in tax revenue from petroleum products," he said.
He said excise duty collection has been scaled down to Rs 6,636.08 crore considering decision to shut down 500 state-run TASMAC liqour outlets but did not spell out further plans on the phased implementation of prohibition, another key poll promise of AIADMK.
That the economy was looking up was evident from the improvement in GSDP growth rates from 4.85 percent in 2012-13 to 6.94 percent in 2014-15 as per 2011-12 constrant prices.
"Considering the trend, it is expected that the economy will further improve and the state would register a higher growth rate."
"In the forthcoming years, Fiscal Deficit to GSDP ratio will be 3.34 percent in 2017-18 and 2.96 percent in 2018-19. The state has to go for additional resource mobilisation or resort to control in expenditure in order to limit fiscal deficit within three percent norm while managing additional expenditure commitments during 2017-18," he said.
Due to such factors, revenue deficit has been now revised to Rs 15,854.47 crore while interim budget for 2016-17 had estimated it at Rs 9,154.78 crore. Fiscal deficit is estimated as Rs.40,533.84 crore, which is 2.96 percent of GSDP.
Panneerselvam had tabled the interim budget on February 16.