Revenue deficit completely eliminated; surplus of Rs.536.54 crore reached
The very grave fiscal situation that existed during the tenure of the previous DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) government has now been consolidated by the present All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam stated on Friday.
Referring to the finding of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in a report placed in the Assembly a few days ago, that the financial situation of the State was very precarious and the State's debt burden required urgent attention, the Minister, quoting the report, stated that in 2010-2011 when the DMK was in power, the revenue deficit was Rs.2,728 crore. In 2009-2010, the fiscal deficit was Rs.11,807 crore, which increased to Rs.16,646 crore in 2010-2011 and the State's debt burden exceeded Rs.1 lakh crore.
“Keeping this in mind, the AIADMK government took measures to increase the government's revenues and, in 2011-2012, the revenue deficit has been completely eliminated and revenue surplus of Rs.536.54 crore reached,” he said, adding that it was the present government that had taken measures to correct the State's fiscal situation.
The fiscal deficit in 2011-2012 was contained to Rs.16,597 crore, which was less than the fiscal deficit of Rs.16,646 crore in 2010-2011. Similarly, although the Central government had authorised net borrowing of Rs.17,437 crore, it had been curtailed to Rs.12,874 crore in 2011-2012.
Adverting to certain specific shortcomings identified by the CAG, Mr. Panneerselvam cited the issue of forest and tree cover and explained efforts taken by the AIADMK government to increase the cover.
The State has a total tree and forest cover of 28,343 sq. km now, which worked out to 21.79 per cent of the total geographical area of the State. Some of the initiatives taken during 2011-2012 included a massive tree plantation programme of 64 lakh seedlings covering 30 indigenous species in all 32 districts; planting of 1.19 crore seedlings of teak and casuarina on private lands of farmers and the launch of the Rs.686-crore Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project, envisaging planting of 10 crore saplings in five years.
Other steps included fire protection and intensification of cultivation of shola forests and removal of exotic species from the protected areas and reserve forests; revival of the scheme for planting ‘karuvel' seedlings on the tank foreshores, covering 4,000 hectares in panchayat and panchayat union tanks this year.