Puducherry Assembly authorises Rs.429-crore additional expenditure

Staff Reporter

Chief Minister Vaithilingam spells out reasons for outflow

“Whenever there is shortfall in supply of electricity, power has to be purchased”

30,000 cycles to be given to workers in urban areas in next financial year

PUDUCHERRY: The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday authorised the government for payment and appropriation of sum amounting to Rs.429 crore out of the Consolidated Fund of the Union Territory for the services in respect for the period from April 2009 to March 2010.

Replying to queries raised by MLAs R. Viswanathan (CPI) and A. Anbalagan (AIADMK) on the necessity for getting approval for additional expenditure when the amount was already spent, Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam said certain expenditure could not be anticipated.

Explaining further, the Chief Minister said the government had sought additional funds to the tune of Rs.295 crore from the Centre but only Rs.108 crore was allocated for providing arrears to government staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendation.

Sharing with the House the reasons for getting approval for additional expenditure, he said whenever there was a shortfall in supply of electricity, additional power had to be purchased from outside. Often, the rate per unit differed and it alone amounted to an additional expenditure of Rs.76 crore. To restart the stalled medical college project, an additional sum of Rs.33 crore was incurred.

Similarly, the government spent Rs.133 crore for providing benefits to pensioners, Mr. Vaithilingam explained.

Later winding up the general discussion on budget, he said there would not be any fresh taxes. Allaying apprehensions raised by members that the government would increase tax on certain services after the budget session of the Assembly, he said: “I can assure you that there will not be any fresh tax. Without increasing the tax structure, we would be able manage the finance,” he said.

Several stalled development projects such as the Women and Child Hospital, Medical College, Ariankuppam and Arasallar bridges had been restarted after the present government took charge. Similarly, several welfare measures, including free and subsidised distribution of rice and wheat, had resumed, the Chief Minister said.

On the provision in the budget for a sum of Rs.2,000 to workers in urban areas to buy cycles, he said most of the workers, both in the organised and unorganised sectors, currently used rented cycles for commuting to the workplace. In the next financial year, at least 30,000 cycles would be distributed to workers in the urban areas.

The Chief Minister also informed the Assembly that the government planned to acquire “unclaimed property” in urban areas for providing housing benefits to landless poor in the urban area.

The government had drawn up a detailed plan to provide housing facility to the needy, he added

The government was also in the process of filling up all vacancies, including promotional posts.

Besides 600-odd posts in the Police Department, the government would fill 200 teaching posts and around 360 construction helper posts in the Electricity Department.

Those who participated in the discussion included A.M.H Nazeem (DMK), K. Lakshminarayan (Congress), V.M.C. Sivakumar (DMK) S.P. Sivakumar (DMK), P.R. Siva (MDMK). T. Thiagarajan (Congress) and R.K.R. Anantharaman (PMK).