Budget
No new developments in the budget, says Opposition leader MK Stalin

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) slammed the budget presented by TN Finance Minister D Jayakumar in the Tamil Nadu assembly on Thursday. DMK working president Stalin called the budget, “old wine in a new bottle”.

Stalin claimed that the state's debt keeps increasing when the AIADMK is in power.  “If we look at the Jayalalithaa led government, Panneerselvam led government or even Edappadi Palaniswami government, the debt just keeps increasing,” he said.

He highlighted that the government has estimated the debt will reach Rs 3.17 lakh crore by March 31, 2018.

Moreover, there was no announcement on farm loan waiver, said Stalin. “There has been no allocation of funds to the MoU's that were signed during the global investors' meet,” he said.

He also said there were no new schemes for electricity and no funds were allocated for the long-term plan 2023 announced by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

He also asked why few AIADMK leaders were missing at the budget session. “Have they gone to meet Sasikala at Bengaluru jail, to the Election Commission or to pass tenders?,” he asked.

The assembly saw some ruckus as the DMK was miffed with Jayakumar for taking the names of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala (both convicted in DA case). “He took the names of Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran before starting the budget session. We questioned as to how the names of those convicted by the Supreme Court can be taken here,” Stalin said.

Meanwhile, the budget showed the state of Tamil Nadu’s finances with the fiscal deficit for 2016-17 at a whopping Rs 61,341 crore, or 4.58% of the GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product). This has overshot the 3% limit prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. Jayakumar blamed the poor state of TN’s finances on TANGEDCO’s debts.

No new taxes have been introduced this budget despite the state’s mounting expenditure owing to its freebies and welfare schemes, while tax collection continues to remain weak.

Read: Fiscal deficit through the roof, but no new taxes: Highlights of the Tamil Nadu Budget