Tamil Nadu bud proposes 1 lakh houses in cyclone-hit areas, to cost Rs 1,700 crore

Panneerselvam, who holds the Finance portfolio, pegged the state's revenue deficit at around Rs 14,300 crore for the coming financial year.

Published: 08th February 2019 04:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2019 04:25 PM   |  A+A-

Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O Panneerselvam (File | EPS)

By PTI

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu budget Friday proposed one lakh concrete houses at an estimated Rs 1,700 crore to replace huts damaged in last year's cyclone besides expanding the crop insurance ambit to include more factors that damage the farm produce.

Presenting the fourth budget of the AIADMK government in the assembly, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said no new taxes were proposed for 2019-20 fiscal and assured the revenue deficit will come down in the coming years.

Panneerselvam, who holds the Finance portfolio, pegged the state's revenue deficit at around Rs 14,300 crore for the coming financial year.

The state's net outstanding debt by March 31, 2020, will be Rs 3,97,495.96 crore with a debt to GSDP ratio of 23.02 per cent, which he said was well within the debt-GSDP norm of 25 per cent.

Amongst the proposals, the government will procure 2,000 new electric buses, besides 12,000 new BS-IV vehicles, at an outlay of Rs 5,890 crore with loan assistance from the German firm KfW, he said.

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He said that as announced by Chief Minister by K Palaniswami earlier, the government will take up construction of one lakh concrete houses in cyclone Gaja hit districts, such as Nagapattinam and Thanjavur.

"The government will take up the construction of one lakh concrete houses with a unit cost of Rs 1.70 lakh to replace damaged huts in districts affected by Gaja cyclone at a total cost of Rs 1,700 crore," he said.

Of this, the Centre was expected to share about Rs 720 crore while the state government will bear the rest Rs 980 crore, he said.

The state's share will be met from debt to be raised through the Tamil Nadu Rural Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation.

For the farm sector, the government said it will notify more crops and expand the coverage under crop insurance in the next fiscal.

Farmers face frequent crop failures due to drought or flood, he said, adding crop insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, was being implemented since 2016 to mitigate weather risk.

"During 2019-20, this government will notify more crops and expand the coverage under crop insurance."

"Further, cloud burst and natural fire will also be included in localised calamities in addition to hailstorm, landslide and inundation," among others, Panneerselvam said.

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Despite the 'adverse' impact of 'reduced' inter-se share in devolution due to 14th Finance Commission recommendations, the state could implement the Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme and pay revision for its employees, he said.

The growth in the State's Own Tax Revenue (SOTR) in 2017-18 was 9.07 per cent and this was expected to exceed 14 per cent during the current fiscal.

"Due to the positive trends in tax receipts, the revenue deficit for the year 2019-20 is expected to come down to Rs 14,315 crore as against the projected revenue deficit of Rs 19,319 crore in Revised Estimates 2018-19," he said.

"With higher SOTR growth, coupled with the phasing out of the impact of UDAY and pay revision, the state expects to bring down the revenue deficit in the coming years," Panneerselvam said.

The per capita income of the state has increased from Rs 1.03 lakh in 2011-12 to Rs 1.42 lakh in 2017-18 in real terms, he added.

The government also announced a number of initiatives in various sectors including implementing a Rs 2,000 crore comprehensive parking management project for Chennai city.

It will have underground parking facilities, multilevel parking facilities and on-lane smart parking to accommodate two lakh four-wheelers and an equal number of two-wheelers, Panneerselvam said.

On the ambitious Athikadavu-Avinashi water scheme, that would benefit people in parts of western Tamil Nadu, he said the government will commence it "soon," adding, a sum of Rs 1,000 crore has been provided in the next year's budget estimates for the purpose.

A comprehensive solid waste management project and a housing scheme for urban poor to construct 38,000 tenements for Chennai were also proposed by Panneerselvam.

On the energy front, the state-run TANGEDCO will be establishing floating solar power projects in Theni, Salem and Erdoe with a capacity of 250 MW at an estimated Rs 1,125 crore, he said.

The recently unveiled Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy 2019 will increase the solar power generation capacity to 9,000 MW by 2023, the deputy chief minister said.

Touching upon the Chennai Metro Rail, he said Phase-I of the project covering two corridors running to 45 km will be fully commissioned by this month while its extension was expected to be on stream next June.

Feasibility study was being taken up for the extension of Metro rail line from Meenambakkam Airport to Kilambakkam metro bus terminus in the southern suburbs, he added.

In the tourism sector, the government will launch a 'massive' promotion project by identifying specific circuits for western, Asian and domestic tourists with quality amenities and infrastructure.

Tourism-centric infrastructure like logistics and hotels will be upgraded under the Private-Public-Partnership mode, Panneerselvam informed.

Talking about liquor sales, Panneerselvam mentioned that the number of retail Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IFML) shops run by Tamil Nadu Marketing State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) has been reduced from 7,896 to 5,198.

It may be recalled that closure of liquor shops in a phased manner was the AIADMK's poll promise in the 2016 Assembly elections.

Incidentally, sale of liquor through such state-run outlets is a huge revenue grosser for the government.

The government would roll out 500 electric vehicles in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, in the first phase.

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