Paving the way for re-convening the Legislative Assembly to present the annual Budget for 2022-23, the Union Government has given necessary approval though with a reduced outlay of around ₹ 10,700 crore, compared to ₹11,000 crore fixed by the Puducherry Planning Board.
“We got the approval to present the Budget on Thursday. Probably, we will have to revise the expenditure statement because of the reduction in the outlay and present the Budget in the fourth week of this month, “ a ruling party member told The Hindu.
The Assembly was adjourned sine die moments after Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan delivered her customary address on August 10 due to lack of clarity on getting Budget approval. Indications are that the Assembly would be re-convened on August 18 and the Budget would be presented by Chief Minister N. Rangasamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, on August 22. The session is likely to continue till the end of this month, said a member.
Of the total outlay of around ₹10, 700 crore sanctioned by the Centre, ₹1,724 crore would come as Central Assistance, around ₹ 6,500 crore from internal revenue mobilisation, ₹500 crore for Centrally-sponsored schemes and ₹200 crore as CRS. The Centre has also allowed the Union Territory to borrow around ₹1,900 crore from the open market, including financial institutions, a source in government said.
Given the reduced allocation of around ₹150 crore as Central Assistance (CA) during the current year, politically, the government will have to do a lot of explaining as the National Democratic Alliance had come to power promising the electorate to get more funds from the Centre if the same alliance was voted to power.
The CA for the last financial year was ₹1, 874 crore. The Chief Minister has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking additional ₹2000 crore as CA as its committed expenditure was bound to increase, including arrears of 7th Pay Commission recommendations.
According to a senior official, the government was hopeful of getting more funds at least for implementing development programmes, including for airport development, upgradation of government medical college and tourism promotion activities. The tax buoyancy witnessed in the last four months also gives the government some solace in managing the financial affairs. Excise and GST collections have shown an upward trend in the first four months of the current fiscal, he added.