CHENNAI:Contrary to expectations that the budget would be laced with popular schemes ahead of an election-period, Finance Minister D Jayakumar presented a tax-free, revenue deficit and plan-oriented budget for 2017-18 that was devoid of populism. The budget stuck to the five priority missions — water resource management, poverty reduction, housing for the poor, skill-building, the clean Tamil Nadu campaign — and 11 focus areas of development formulated by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The budget focussed on agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry and housing sectors and paid special attention to the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Besides, higher allocations have been made to almost all ongoing welfare schemes, despite a huge fiscal deficit.
The total budget for 2017-18 is Rs 2,19,339 crore. While the total revenue receipts would be Rs 1,59,363 crore, the total revenue expenditure would be Rs 1,75,293 crore. Thus, the projected revenue deficit would be Rs 15,930 crore. The total capital expenditure would be Rs 27,789 crore and the overall fiscal deficit would be Rs 41,977 crore. Besides, the outstanding debt at the end of March 31, 2018 would be Rs 3,14,366 crore.
Admitting that the proposals for his maiden budget were prepared under severe resource constraints as uncertainty in the domestic economy continued, the Finance Minister said, “The government will leave no stone unturned to bring the State back on the path of fiscal consolidation and reverse the economic downtrend.”