“Schemes not for political gains”

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime’s schemes such as supplying rice at Re.1 a kg and distributing colour television sets free were framed not for political gains but with a long-term perspective of tackling poverty, Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan told the Assembly on Tuesday.

The schemes will help lessen the severity of the problem of poverty, Mr. Anbazhagan said, replying to the debate on the demands for grants for his department.

As for the financial health, he said that even the Central government’s fiscal deficit exceeded the prescribed level of three per cent last year. For the current year, the Centre had decided that fiscal deficit of States, as a percentage of the Gross State Domestic Product, could go up to four per cent.

The Minister expressed the hope that the State’s deficit would be less than the permissible level.

Making a slew of announcements for legislators, Mr. Anbazhagan said pay and allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly would be Rs.50,000 a month. This would entail an additional expenditure of Rs.1.2 crore annually.

The pension of former members, including those belonging to the now-defunct Legislative Council, would hereafter be Rs.10,000. This would cost the exchequer Rs.2.25 crore additionally.

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