PTR says Tamil Nadu regularly targeted in Lok Sabha as it fares better than Union govt

Tamil Nadu’s Finance Minister Dr P Thiaga Rajan said that the state is routinely targeted in Lok Sabha debates because it has taken a different route than the Union government and performs well economically.
TN Finance Minister DR P Thiaga Rajan
TN Finance Minister DR P Thiaga Rajan
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Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan (PTR) has said that Tamil Nadu is often targeted by the Union government in speeches over inflation, price rise and the economy in general, as the state has been performing well and now represents the last bastion of states’ rights and good economic performance in this country. PTR was responding to a question as to why the Union Finance Minister specifically mentioned Tamil Nadu in her speech on rising prices in the country. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech in the Lok Sabha on August 3 had said that the Tamil Nadu government increased the prices of milk and its related products more than what the Union government had prescribed and then blamed the Union government for it.

In a video released by the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Finance Minister PTR is asked, “Why do you think only Tamil Nadu is targeted by the Union Finance Minister during the debate in the Lok Sabha?”

The DMK Minister responds, “This year, the Union Government’s fiscal deficit in the budget is 7%. Ours (Tamil Nadu’s) was closer to 3.5%. Inflation in this country is almost 8%. Ours is closer to 5%.” He adds that Tamil Nadu fared better than the Union Government even in terms of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues. 

PTR says in the video that BJP won the elections in most states or came through the backdoor by toppling governments or buying MLAs and very few states have been able to retain their independence, out of which Tamil Nadu is one that has also been able to perform well economically.

“In Tamil Nadu, we have a functioning government that is showing compassion, social justice and yet delivering superior returns,” PTR says in the video. Calling the Union government a “colonial power in Delhi”, PTR adds that Tamil Nadu’s performance rubbed them off the wrong way because the state shows that they go another way and do better.

The state Finance Minister says in the video that the principles espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat are the same as the ones followed by Tamil Nadu, although they seem to be in direct contrast with the Union government now.

“All of a sudden, the champions of states’ rights have become the worst authoritarians in the history of India. The target is on us simply because we know where the constitution draws the line. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the Union government gets to legislate on state subjects like school education, agriculture, minor dams and ports. All these are state subjects but the Union government wants to thrust its hands, the same way it wants to control our finances,” PTR says.

PTR also adds that with every finance commission, Tamil Nadu is getting lesser money than it used to before and is expected to spend it in the way the Union government deems fit.

“If this is not colonialism, what is it? So they (the Union government) do not like people who stand up to colonialism. I can’t think of any other reason why,” the Finance Minister says.

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