Special Correspondent

PUDUCHERRY: Chief Minister N.Rangasamy on Friday said that the government would adopt a development strategy with a focus on infrastructure enhancement and employment generation in the Union Territory.

Replying to the general discussion on the budget for 2008-2009, he said the government had announced its decision to develop an Information Technology park to provide jobs for thousands of educated youth.

In tune with the government’s intention to show more interest in creating employment opportunities for women and youth, it had decided to establish a textile park, he said.

The government also wanted to form a separate corporation for infrastructure development to promote tourism, he added.

Though many members had expressed disappointment over the lack of any announcement on new welfare schemes in the budget, Mr.Rangasamy said around 56 per cent of the plan outlay would be spent on social services.

The government also avoided announcing new schemes as it did not like to face a situation in which it would be unable to implement them.

Referring to the views expressed by some members that the government should levy tax on certain sectors to enhance revenue, he said the administration would be geared to mobilise funds. Keeping this in mind, he had said in his budget speech that the government would be able to mobilise adequate resources required for the financial year 2008-2009, he added.

On the government’s decision on raising funds through market borrowing at competitive rate for funding the plan schemes, he said the move was based on the guidelines of the 12th Finance Commission.

The Chief Minister categorically denied that the Union Territory was facing a financial crisis. Dubbing it illusory, he said adequate funds were available for implementing the plan projects. However, there were some procedural tangles which had to be sorted out, he added.

Speaking on the budget, Leader of the Opposition A.M.H.Nazeem (DMK) urged the government to take steps to ensure balanced development of all the four regions in the Union Territory. R.Viswanathan (CPI) cautioned the government against walking into a debt trap.

K.Lakshminarayanan (PMC) said the plan allocation for different sectors had come down. R.K.R.Anantharaman (PMK) said the government should explain how it was going to mobilise funds to repay loans. S.P.Sivakumar (DMK) said though the bureaucracy attempted to corner the Chief Minister, they would not succeed in the attempt.