Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s fiscal deficit could touch ₹85,000 crore due to COVID-19, says Chief Minister

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at a function in Tiruchi on Friday

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at a function in Tiruchi on Friday   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Edappadi Palaniswami said that a decision on extending the lockdown beyond June 30 or expanding it to other districts would be taken based on the inputs of the expert committee and the Centre’s decision.

Tamil Nadu’s fiscal deficit could touch ₹85,000 crore this year due to the pandemic if the existing trend of revenue shortfall continues, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said in Tiruchi on Friday.

“Revenue receipts have dried up over the past two months. With industries and businesses remaining shut, we would sustain a shortfall of about ₹12,000-₹13,000 crore a month as per the Finance Secretary’s projections,” he told journalists. A month ago, Mr. Palaniswami, citing a Finance Department estimate, had put the anticipated revenue shortfall, vis-a-vis budget estimates of revenue receipts, at ₹35,000 crore. He said a decision on extending the lockdown beyond June 30 or expanding it to other districts would be taken based on inputs of the expert committee and the Centre’s decision. “The expert committee meeting is scheduled for Monday."

The Chief Minister was on a visit to the city to review the measures taken to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and the progress in executing kudimaramathu works in Tiruchi district.

He said the government would extend whatever assistance possible to the people, taking into consideration the financial position, he said, while answering a query on the feasibility of reducing the tuition fee in educational institutions.

Contending that the State government was making strenuous efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mr. Palaniswami said that a decision on extending the lockdown beyond June 30 or expanding it to other districts would be taken based on the inputs of the expert committee and the Centre’s decision.

"Already we have had a discussion with the District Collectors. The expert committee meeting is scheduled for Monday," he pointed out.

The Chief Minister did not see any need for convening an all-party meeting to discuss the issue, reiterating that it was essentially a medical issue and the government was acting as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation, Union Ministry of Health and Indian Council of Medical Research. “It is not an inter-State issue for political parties to discuss and decide,” he said.

He also observed that until a drug was found to cure the disease, people would have to adhere to the WHO norms such as wearing face masks, maintaining physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Cooperative banks

 Mr. Palaniswami said that more details were awaited on the Centre’s decision to bring urban cooperative banks under the Reserve Bank of India. “However, we had already written to the Centre seeking continuation of status quo," he said.

Answering another query, he said the Public Works Department would gradually step up the quantum of release from the Mettur Dam for irrigation, depending on the requirement for farmers in the delta. This year, water has been released as the water level stood at 100 feet and above for a sustained period, he pointed out. Hoping for a bountiful monsoon, he observed that the monsoon was yet to turn active over Karnataka. Steps would be taken to get Tamil Nadu’s share of water in the Cauvery through the Cauvery Water Management Authority.

The Public Works Department and the District Collectors have been instructed to complete the kudimaramathu works in time. He pointed out that the works were being executed through the water users’ associations and any hitch in executing some works may have been due to delay in forming water users’ associations.

The Chief Minister also categorically asserted that the State government would continue the free power scheme for farmers.

Later in the day, the Chief Minister inspected the progress of the construction of a new barrage across the Kollidam River at Mukkombu, where the British-built barrage had collapsed in August 2018. About 40% of the construction work had been completed so far, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 9:46:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-could-lose-85000-crore-in-revenue-due-to-covid-19-says-chief-minister/article31924264.ece

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