CHENNAI: Presenting the tax-free interim budget for the year 2016-17 with a revenue deficit of Rs.9,154.78 crore, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday exuded confidence that the AIADMK would retain power in the ensuing Assembly elections.
"This being an interim budget, no new announcement has been included in this budget following the usual convention", the Finance Minister said. However, allocations for all ongoing schemes have been made. The fiscal deficit for the next financial year has been projected at Rs.36,740.11 crore.
"Like the mythological bird *annam*, which is capable of separating water from milk, our people can differentiate the good from bad andhence they will deliver the correct judgement at the right time. I am confident that they will ensure that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa gets another resounding victory in the forthcoming election and that our journey to take forward the State's development continues", Panneerselvam said.
Referring to the huge revenue deficit in the interim budget, the Finance Minister said it was unavoidable due to falling State's Own Tax Revenue especially the Sales Tax Revenue from petroleum products. "Wen the State is implementing many unique schemes such as the Green House Scheme, Free distribution of fan, mixie, grinder and laptop computers scheme, special public distribution system, social security pension schemes, etc., such revenue deficit is unavoidable", he pointed out.
Panneerselvam observed that without implementing such schemes, most of the other States were also facing such huge revenue deficits. "In view of this, the necessary amendments to Tamil Nadu Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003 will be taken up when the Revised Budget for 2016-17 is presented", he added.
Opposition parties including DMK, CPM, CPI, Puthiya Thamizhagam and Congress MLA S Vijayadharani boycotted the budget presentation. The six DMDK MLAs - V.C. Chandirakumar, R. Mohanraj, S.R. Parthiban, L. Venkatesan, C.H. Sekar and K. Dhinakaran whose suspension has been revoked by the Supreme Court on February 2, attended today's session. When they entered the House, rest of the DMDK MLAs greeted them by thumping their desks.