Leads walkout even before Finance Minister could begin his speech

Even before Finance Minister O. Paneerselvam could begin his budget speech, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MLAs, led by legislative party leader M.K. Stalin staged a walkout.

As soon as Speaker P. Dhanapal invited Mr. Panneerselvam to present the 2013-14 budget, Mr. Stalin stood up and tried to read out a statement. However, he could not be heard as his microphone was not switched on. Amidst thumping of the tables by ruling AIADMK MLAs, Mr. Stalin and his party MLAs staged a walk out.

Later, Mr. Stalin told reporters that as many as 25 announcements were made in the name of the Chief Minister in January 2013 alone. On March 14, 18 and 19 of this year, the Chief Minister made announcements worth several crores of rupees, including buildings for Adi Dravidar Department, fishing harbour in Poompuhar and IT Park and horticulture farm in Srirangam.

Recalling his statements questioning the status of announcements two days before the presentation of the last budget, Mr. Stalin said the Chief Minister, in her reply, had said announcements made in the 2011-12 budget were issued as government orders at the fag end of the fiscal on March 22, 2012. Similarly, she had said the government orders of announcements made in the Collectors’ conference in 2011 were issued two days ahead of the (2012-13) budget presentation.

Therefore, the public would be able to know the details of the announcements in the current budget only after government orders are issued probably a year later.

“The budget presentation by the [State] Finance Minister is only a ritual,” Mr. Stalin said claiming that the last two years have proved that the announcements made in AIADMK budgets take at least a year’s time to be issued as government orders. “The budgets presented by this regime are not time-bound and exist only on paper. It is neither useful nor helpful,” he said.

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