The State government’s projection of 17 per cent growth in receipts of its own taxes is a conservative estimate, Principal Secretary (Finance) K.Shanmugam said on Thursday.
Replying to a query at the post-budget briefing, Mr. Shanmugam denied the suggestion that the government had made an ambitious projection. Last year, it had estimated 23 per cent growth rate and the government had almost achieved it. The reduction in the growth rate was expected in view of the economic slow down at the national level. “Still, the government estimates a revenue surplus of Rs. 664 crore for 2013-2014,” he said. Mr. Shanmugam said the current year’s revenue surplus had been revised at about Rs. 452 crore against the budget estimates of revenue surplus of Rs. 2,376 crore. This was because of the decline in revenue receipts.
However, he was hopeful that the government would be able to meet its estimates in revenue receipts as its tax collection machinery was relatively better than in many other States. Referring to interest payments of the State government, he said the figure would be Rs. 13,584 crore for the coming year against Rs. 10,754 crore for 2012-2013. . The increase in the interest payments was due to the government absorbing 50 per cent of Rs. 12,211 crore of short-term liabilities of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) as part of the financial restructuring plan of the power utility.
On the scheme of direct benefits transfer (DBT), Mr. Shanmugam clarified that the government was not averse to providing the cash component of a welfare scheme through banks. The State had started implementing it much before the DBT scheme was formulated at the national level. But, it was not in favour of the DBT in public distribution system (PDS) as the issue here was accessibility and availability of grains, rather than monetary value.
Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam on Thursday had a dig at the Central government for, what he called, “denying or delaying even our rightful dues.”
Conveying the political content of the budget speech amply clear, the Minister explained that the recent Union budget had given a “severe blow” to the State’s financial planning by brutally cutting down plan expenditure by 20 per cent. He said the Centre had not reimbursed the committed amount of Rs. 395 crore for flood control projects even after two years. Similarly, under the Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan and the JNNURM, significant amounts were due to the State. “The inefficiencies of the Central government are eating into the plan allocations of the States and the burden of the artificial contraction of the fiscal deficit of the Central government is cast upon the shoulders of the States,” he said.