Growth of above 10 per cent is the goal in the coming years

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government's first budget, presented on Thursday, unveiled new schemes and development initiatives totalling Rs. 8,900 crore.

Among the new measures were free distribution of electric fan, mixie and grinder (Rs.1,250 crore), solar-powered green house scheme (Rs.1,080 crore), Chennai Mega City Development Mission (Rs. 500 crore) and cash dole for students of 10th standard and higher secondary classes (Rs. 394 crore).

Watched by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Cabinet colleagues, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam delivered his maiden budget speech that lasted three hours.

As he rose to present the budget, members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, led by M.K. Stalin, staged a walkout.

Revenue deficit

Giving the big picture of the budget, the Finance Minister said, “We focussed attention more on fulfilling our electoral promises…We have also eliminated the previous year's revenue deficit of Rs. 2,720 crore and generated a marginal revenue surplus of Rs. 173.87 crores in this budget.”

Amid thumping of desks, he said the budget size, for the first time, exceeded Rs. 1 lakh crore.

Though the growth rate of the primary and secondary sectors in the first three years of the 11th Plan period (since 2007-2008) was disappointing and below the national average, the economic growth in the State was propelled by the service sector. “We are well aware that service sector-led growth may not be sustainable in the long run. Therefore, we will make the primary and manufacturing sectors the main drivers for achieving higher growth.” At the same time, critical bottlenecks in infrastructure development would be addressed to sustain higher growth in the service sector so that an overall growth of above 10 per cent was achieved in the coming years, he added.

Power projects

The Minister said that the capacity addition in power sector this year was expected to be 3,280 megawatt. It had been proposed to take up power generation projects of 3,800 MW at a cost of Rs. 22,800 crore, either under the State sector or through joint venture.