Measures aim at fortifying State's finances
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, in the Assembly on Monday, presented a growth-oriented Budget that retained the State's traditional focus on social security.
Watched by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her colleagues, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam, in his three-hour speech, said the Budget estimates had been designed to further improve the State government's financial position. The State would have a sizable revenue surplus of Rs. 2,376.07 crore in the coming financial year. He said the economic growth of the State was projected around 9.39 per cent this year.
“As growth in the primary sector and in the secondary sector in 2011-2012 in the State is projected only at 2.63 per cent and 7.12 per cent respectively, higher investments and flow of funds into these sectors are the need of the hour.” Among the announcements in areas that would trigger growth were Rs. 1,000 crore for the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Fund; training for 1,000 youths every year as part of the New Entrepreneur-cum-Enterprise Development Scheme; major investment proposals of leading companies such as Eicher, Philips Carbon, Sundaram Clayton and Saint Gobain about to be cleared, and plans for accommodating incubation and training centres exclusively for small and medium information technology companies in IT parks of Tiruchi, Madurai and Tirunelveli.
He made it clear that the government was resolved to carry forward its social security agenda. The allocation of Rs. 3,820 crore for social security pension schemes; Rs. 2,000 crore for free distribution of wet grinders, mixies and electric fans; Rs. 1,500 crore for laptops to students; Rs. 750 crore for various marriage assistance schemes and Rs. 720 crore for Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy maternity assistance schemes were some of the measures.
As for welfare measures for government employees, he said the present health insurance scheme would lapse in June and it was proposed to revamp it to provide a cover of Rs. four lakh instead of the existing Rs. two lakh. The present limit of housing loan extended to employees would be hiked from Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. Financial assistance, being given under the Tamil Nadu Government Pensioners Family Security Fund Scheme, would be enhanced from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 35,000 in the event of death of the pensioner.
A media centre and a multimedia transmission centre would be established shortly at the Secretariat to enable reporters to file reports for their organisations instantly without any cost.
He also announced the provision of Rs. 200 crore for the Urban Livelihood Mission, focussing on livelihood security of the urban poor and Rs. 100 crore for the State Balanced Growth Fund. “This government has allotted a total sum of Rs.30,331 crore for the social security net and various welfare schemes,” he said. When Deputy Leader of Opposition Panruti S. Ramachandran (DMDK) and DMK floor leader M.K. Stalin rose to say something they were not allowed by the Speaker Later, Mr. Stalin led a walkout of his party members.