Tamil Nadu

White Paper on Aug. 9, first e-Budget on Aug. 13

An upgrade: All-in-one desktop personal computers have been installed on the desks of legislators at the makeshift Assembly hall in Kalaivanar Arangam.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Assembly will witness its first paperless Budget session, with Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan set to present the revised Budget for 2020-21 on August 13. Ahead of this, Mr. Rajan will release a White Paper on the State’s finances on August 9.

“The situation is worse than what the previous releases have shown,” Mr. Rajan told The Hindu on Wednesday. “This [White Paper] is something that I was committed to, and I am fulfilling it. I wanted it to be as comprehensive as possible. It is 10 years’ worth of mismanagement. Before we go to the Budget, it is good that the people of the State understand what is the true state of affairs,” he said.

The White Paper, likely to be of 120 pages, will focus on the State’s debt burden and the finances of the Electricity, Local Bodies, Water Resources and Transport Departments, among others.

The Minister said it took a long time to get the data together due to the pandemic. “It is important that what we put out is accurate. I am not saying it is comprehensive. We might need to do a few more things like White Papers on GIM-1 [Global Investors Meet] and GIM-2 and Rule-110 announcements. Right now, it [White Paper] is a limited context on what is the true financial situation of the State,” he said.

He said once the White Paper was put out in the public domain, other questions might arise and more clarifications sought. Based on these, the Chief Minister might want to resolve issues raised when the DMK was in the Opposition, he added.

Paperless Budget

A notification issued by Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday said the House would be convened at 10 a.m. on August 13. In February, the then Finance Minister, O. Panneerselvam, had presented the interim Budget for the year, ahead of the Assembly election.

The Budget, including the full session with the demand for grants of all departments, will be paperless. The Assembly Secretariat has already installed all-in-one desktop personal computers on the desks of the legislators at the makeshift Assembly hall in Kalaivanar Arangam to facilitate the reading of the Budget as it is presented.

The MLAs will also be provided with a tablet, the Budget papers and the demand for grants books five minutes after the Budget is tabled in the Assembly.

Sources in the Assembly Secretariat told The Hindu that a special software would be used to ensure that the e-Budget proceedings go smoothly. This is being done in coordination with the Information Technology Department, the National Informatics Centre and ELCOT.

“We conducted a drill yesterday [Tuesday] and it worked well,” a source said.

The first agriculture Budget will be presented on August 14, the Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department, said.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:17:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tns-first-paperless-budget-to-be-presented-on-august-13/article35717565.ece

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