Tamil Nadu presents tax-free budget with sops, DMK walks out
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam presents the budget in Chennai on Wednesday. (Source: PTI)
With an eye on the 2016 assembly polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam Wednesday presented a tax-free budget for the 2015-16 fiscal. The CM, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced distribution of 12,000 cows, six lakh goats for deserving people besides VAT exemption on fishing accessories. The budget has reduced VAT on cellphones from 14.5 per cent to five percent and has given ‘critical concessions’ to boost the manufacturing sector by withdrawing electricity tax on plants using biomass, excluding bagasse.
Invoking former CM J Jayalalithaa, who had to leave the CM seat after her conviction in a disproportionate assets case, Paneerselvam said his government draws inspiration from “our revered leader Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Revolutionary leader Amma)”. He added: “The day will not be far away to see our leader again in this august house as our beloved CM to lead us and the state with greater force and dedication to the pinnacle of fame”.
The government has alloted Rs 1,100 crore for free laptops for students and Rs 2,000 crore for fans, mixies and grinders for women.
The budget has projected capital expenditure for 2015-2016 at Rs 27,213.17 crore and fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 31,829.19 crore. “Besides slow growth in States’ Own Tax Revenue, devolution and grants in aid of the Centre are expected to go down. Notwithstanding this, our government has decided not to impose any new tax,” said Paneerselvam.
The Chief Minister said his government decided to avoid any upward revision in VAT on petroleum products unlike other states. “The government proposed to raise net borrowings to Rs 30,446.68 crore and overall outstanding debt would be in excess of Rs 2.1 lakh crore by end of March 2016,” he said. The fiscal deficit would remain at 2.89 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product as against the normal three per cent.
Main opposition DMK staged a walkout after Speaker P Dhanapal denied permission to party floor leader M K Stalin to raise some issues. “Economy, law and order, scams, public debt — the ADMK refuses to discuss all these urgent issues in the assembly. The budget session is a farce,” said Stalin after the walkout.
TN Congress Committee chief E V K S Elangovan said the budget started and ended with “Amma”. “This budget has no plans to create jobs. It is silent about the deteriorating law and order situation. It’s a budget without any vision,” he said.
Source:: Indian Express