Mixed reaction by Opposition to TN budget

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/8/2019 7:21:49 PM National

Chennai, Feb 8 (IANS) The 2019-20 budget for Tamil Nadu presented in the Assembly on Friday by Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam, who also holds the finance portfolio, has evoked a mixed response from opposition leaders.

DMK President M.K. Stalin termed the budget as useless for the poor and said the money that was to be spent on growth was being paid as interest.

Stalin, also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said the budget has no announcements pertaining to employment generation as well as revenue generation given the debt levels at around Rs 4,00,000 crore.

He said the state's finances were similar to an insolvent company.

On the other hand, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the budget, although largely a disappointing one, has a couple of good announcements like the allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the Athikadavu Avinashi water scheme.

Referring to the waste-to-energy project announced in the budget, Ramadoss said it would result in air pollution. The mega parking scheme here would result in congestion and not ease traffic, he added.

Interestingly, PMK is one of the parties that the ruling AIADMK wants as its electoral partner in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

The leader of the AMMK, T.T.V.Dhinakaran, said the announcement of schemes for the farmers (crop insurance), Athikadavu Avinashi water scheme and increased allocation for education are comforting factors.

Dhinakaran said the non-receipt of dues from the Central government as mentioned in the budget shows that Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam have pledged the interests of the state for selfish reasons.

In his about two and a half hour long speech, Panneerselvam said the state has been one of the best performers in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and has achieved good growth in GST revenues.

"However, the state is yet to receive its due share of IGST (Integrated GST) to the tune of Rs 5,454 crore, as well as the assured GST compensation of Rs 455.16 crore for the year 2017-2018.

"The delay in release of these dues by the Centre is impinging on the state's finances," he said.

According to MDMK's Vaiko, the budget has no new schemes and sounds like a compilation of the last eight budgets presented by Panneerselvam.

As per the budget, the total revenue income for 2019-20 is put at Rs 197,721.17 crore and the total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 212,035.93 crore resulting in a revenue deficit of Rs 14,314.76 crore.

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