MADURAI: Taking a cue from the past, the DMK government, which has come to power in the State after a gap of ten years, is said to have zeroed in on 'consumer socialism' in its budget.
A retired economics professor, A Muniyandi, said that the budget tabled by Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan that focuses on the autonomy of the State, constituting a High Level Committee for a distinct State Education Policy and the like proves that it is a Dravidian-model budget. "The Dravidian model budget, from the 1970s, are replete with a plethora of freebies," he said, adding that during the last DMK tenure, from 2006 to 2011, all its budgets were tax-free ones and they are more particular about the consumer socialism model.
He also said that the announcement on the revival of 'Nammakku Naame' scheme, revamping the Social Security Pension scheme, restoring the Anna Marumalarchi Thittam and Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihood Mission schemes have ensured the socio-political empowerment of the layman.
Speaking on the Dravidian model budget, Executive Co-coordinator of Dravidian Professionals Forum, S Dharanidharan, said that the Dravidian politics always strives for uplifting the down trodden and putting money in the hands of the poor. "In the budget, the spending is mostly on the social justice front, mainly to uplift women and the downtrodden," he said and cited a proposal to increase the maternity leave for the women by 12 months, like in western democracies, and another proposal on free bus pass to women.
Lauding the announcement to reduce petrol price, Dharanidharan said, "As per a recent study, Indians spend a major share of their per capita income on fuel 17%. It is, by far, the highest in the world. Citizens in China for example spend just 1.5 per cent of their per capita income on fuel. So reducing Rs 3 a litre will increase the disposable income, thereby propelling demand."
Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Sathyan said that DMK won't be able claim its budget as Dravidian model. "The budget is not talking about creating employment or creating a climate conducive for investments in Tamil Nadu. This budget doesn't talk about bringing in cash flow into the system. This budget has not talked about SMEs and MSMEs. There is no hint of reforms in any areas. Then, how can you term it as a Dravidian model budget," Sathyan questioned.
Countering the announcement of the revival of 'Namakku Naame' and other schemes, Sathyan said that giving new names for the old schemes doesn't promise the right delivery and growth. "Majority of the schemes announced are funded by the Central government. Building houses or giving water pipelines, increasing green cover is all centrally-funded schemes. There is no scheme that can change the demography of the State. To summit in one word, the budget is an example for the proverb, empty vessel makes more noise" he added.
Sathyan termed the reduction in petrol price as an eye wash. He also questioned why the diesel price was not reduced?
Cut to June 19, 1971.
DMK stalwart Chief Minister M Karunanidhi tabled his budget for 1971-72 concluded his budget speech saying, "The imbalance in powers to tax and raise resources between the Centre and the States shows itself in the continuing gap in our budget. On one hand, as years pass, our responsibilities increase. On the other, all elastic sources of taxation and control over means of raising public debt are vested with the Centre. The consequence is a large gap between income and expenditure which can be bridged only by a radical restructuring of Centre-State financial relations about which this Government has continually pleaded with the Centre."
After 50 years, PTR Palanivel Thiaga Rajan also reiterated the same.
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