Chennai: Lauding Centre for its efforts to boost investor confidence, Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam on Friday said the NDA government 'has to continue its thrust on private investments besides focusing on public investments' and hoped to see steps in this regard in the Union Budget 2015-16.
The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts taken by the Central Government to instill confidence in both domestic and foreign investors and to attract investments to propel economic growth.
"However, looking at the mid-term economic analysis 2014-2015, the Central Government has to continue its thrust on private investments, besides focusing on public investments in order to kick start the economic cycle. I hope this Government will be able to signal this in the Budget 2015-2016," he said.
In his address at the pre-buget meeting of states convened by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Panneerselvam presented his state's case on a number of issues including drinking water schemes.
He sought Centre's approval and funding support in the forthcoming budget for Rs 1371.86 crore sea water desalination plant with a capacity of 150 MLD (million litres a day) to address Chennai's drinking water needs.
Originally conceived by the AB Vajpayee-led NDA government, river inter-linking was given a 'new lease of life' in the Budget 2014-15, he said.
He hoped that Centre will take this forward by giving due priority to the peninsular river linkage project with adequate budgetary support.
"The project for linking Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar rivers at a cost of Rs 5,166 crores is pending for the Central Government's approval. We look forward to its inclusion in the 2015-2016 Union Budget," Panneerselvam, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said.
With at least 10 cities in his state 'fully eligible' to be declared as 'Smart Cities' under the NDA's ambitious programme in this regard, Panneerselvam urged Jaitley to make an 'appropriate announcement' in this regard concerning Tamil Nadu.
Growing cities like Salem, Trichy, Thoothukudi, Cuddalore and Erode has 'right credentials' for consideration as Smart Cities apart from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, he said.
On Prime Minister Narenda Modi's 'Make in India' effort, he said the 'ambitious mission' will be possible and sustainable only if Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector is revitalised.
Pointing out that his state is implementing a scheme to promote integrated MSME estates besides providing a two per cent interest subvention for new entrepreneurs, he suggested Centre could launch a special scheme with five per cent interest subvention.
As regard to infrastructure, he said that government of India should set up an Infrastructure Fund as a line of credit to provide long term finance of more than 12 years to projects in PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode with contributions from private sector financing wings of multilateral agencies like World Bank, ADB, JICA.
On the rollout of GST, he said the government had moved the constitutional amendment in 'Lok Sabha without evolving a consensus on the critical aspects like Revenue Neutral Rates and bands, compensation methodology and threshold.'
"This is not acceptable to us. We would rather suggest that the Government of India should permit the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers to decide on these issues before the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Bill," he said.
Centre must ensure that the states' fears are allayed and a true consensus is achieved before such a 'far-reaching' reform is attempted, Panneerselvam said.
Among others, he sought Centre's approval for the extension of the services of Chennai Metro rail, a Centre-State JV, upto Thiruvottriyur and Wimco Nagar, whose estimated cost was Rs 3,253 crore.
A copy of the CM's speech was made available here.