Finance Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday presented a tax-free, revenue surplus budget for the year 2014-15. This is his fourth tax-free budget since the AIADMK government assumed office in May 2011. Though higher allocations have been made for all key sectors, no populist measures have been announced in the budget.
Presenting the budget to the State Assembly, the Finance Minister said the projected revenue surplus would be Rs.289.36 crore while the fiscal deficit would be Rs.25,714.31 crore for the year 2014-15. The fiscal deficit would be 2.73 per cent of the GSDP.
The Finance Minister said an ambitious Tamil Nadu Cotton Cultivation Mission will be launched in the STate with an initial outlay of Rs.50 crore. It is proposed to bring at 3.70 lakh acres under cotton crop by 2014-15, and ultimately increase it to cover six lakh acres in the next five years through this Mission.
Panneerselvam said a new intelligent transport system for Chennai city would be implemented. The preliminary study and preparation of the detailed project report for this technology intensive solution for a new Chennai city transportation system would be taken up soon. This is expected to provide much needed relief to the traffic woes of Chennai city.
The Finance Minister also said a major initiative would be undertaken during the coming financial year by launching the Cooum river restoration project. This is a massive project with a time line of five years to be implemented at a total cost of Rs.3,833.62 crore.
This involves Rs,2077.29 crore for relief and rehabilitation of affected families. The project will be executed through the Chennai River Restoration Trust as the nodal agency. Rs.500 has been allocated for this project for the year 2014-15.