Ahead of the next year’s general Assembly polls, the ruling AIADMK will present its last full budget in the 15th Assembly on Friday. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who handles the finance portfolio has increased the budget allocation for agriculture and freebie schemes for women and children, informed Secretariat sources, who are in the budget preparation process.
The session would commence with the presentation of Budget by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who also holds the Finance portfolio, after which the Business Advisory Committee would meet at Speaker P Dhanapal’s Chamber to decide on the duration of the session. This would be the 10th time Panneerselvam would be presenting the budget, who had served as the Finance Minister since May 2011, barring a six month period in 2017, when he was not part of the Cabinet. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, holding the Finance Portfolio had presented the budget then. For the fiscal 2020-21, the state is confident of getting Central funds to a tune of Rs 7,000 crore which includes GST arears to about Rs 4,000 crore and performance and basic grants to a tune of Rs 3,000 crore to TN local bodies. Already Local Administration Minister SP Velumani has been dispatched to New Delhi with a letter from Chief Minister and Minister D Jayakumar, who handles GST council meetings, is also frequenting Delhi for funds, officials said.
The debt during the fiscal 2019-20 was around Rs 3.97 lakh crore and it is inching closer towards the four-lakh crore mark. The debt figure is crucial as the state has been paying large amount of cash as interest borrowed for various projects. However, the fiscal deficit is another area, where the finance department is working overtime. The government employees have also submitted memorandum to the state seeking reversal to old pension schemes and the budget will have an answer to several sectors that are asking doles and freebies from the government, secretariat sources said.
Meanwhile, the opposition DMK has planned to rake up several issues during the budget presentation. Issues like TNPSC group 4 scam, Hydrocarbon, CAA and opening of more liquor outlets are likely to be raked up by the DMK legislators.