The DMK government in Tamil Nadu presented the revised budget for 2021-22 on Friday, August 13.
Finance and Human Resource Minister P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan’s maiden budget – the first paperless budget in the history of the state – slashed excise duty on petrol by ₹3, offering much-needed relief to the people.
The government will identify eligible families to implement the DMK’s election promise of providing monthly assistance of ₹1,000 to female members, P.T.R. said.
According to P.T.R., the state’s revenues stand at ₹2,60,409.26 crore and expenditure is estimated at ₹2,61,188.57 crore.
“It [the revised budget] will lay a strong foundation for the full budget next year,” the minister said, adding the government is steadfast in its commitment to fulfil its election promises.
To develop infrastructure facilities in villages, the government will revive the earlier DMK regime’s Anna Marumalarchi Thittam and Namakku Naamey Thittam schemes. ₹1,200 crore and ₹100 crore, respectively, will be allocated for them, the minister said.
One of the pet projects of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, the Singara Chennai scheme, will also be relaunched, he said.
Other highlights of the budget proposal included:
- ₹8,000 crore increase in food subsidy
- ₹6,607.17 crore for irrigation. The government will also approach the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for project funding
- Allocation of ₹2,000 crore for providing drinking water through Jal Shakthi scheme
- A new defence industrial park in Coimbatore spread across 500 acres. ₹3,000 crore investment expected
- ₹703 crore subsidy for free bus travel for women
- Tree planting drives across the state as part of a massive, 10-year green movement
- The Chief Minister’s Insurance Scheme to be implemented this year at a cost of ₹1,046 crore
- ₹5 crore to continue excavation at state archaeological sites, including Keeladi
- Approval for three new flyovers in Chennai
- Fresh impetus to MGNREGS. About 25 crore man-days of work to be guaranteed
- ₹3,800 crore for rural housing
- 100 wetlands to be identified for restoration at a cost of ₹100 crore in the next five years
- Climate change mitigation measures at a cost of ₹500 crore
- 405 crore for fire departments
- 10 new arts and science colleges to be opened this year
- ₹ 5,369.09 crore allocation for higher education
- ₹762.23 crore towards marriage assistance for women
- Maternity leave period extended to 12 months from nine months
- The state will bear the education costs of children who lost their parents in the pandemic
- ₹48.48 crore allocated for upgrading anganwadi centres
On Monday P.T.R. had published a white paper on the state’s finances and said that there had been “fiscal mismanagement” during the AIADMK regime over the last decade.
Thiagarajan said the state must change its approach if it wants to “break out of the vicious cycle of increasing debt and interest rates”.
“This is an opportunity to effect once-in-a-generation reforms, many of which should have been undertaken years ago by any responsible government,” he said.
Profound structural reform was the need of the hour, he added.