PUDUCHERRY: Chief Minister N Rangasamy, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented a Rs 9,924.41 crore tax-free budget for 2021-22 in the territorial Assembly on Thursday.
Presenting the NDA government’s first budget this evening, the Chief Minister said the outlay will be met through revenue receipts estimated at Rs 6,190 crores, the central assistance of Rs 1729.77 crore including a disaster relief fund of Rs five crore and centrally sponsored schemes estimated at Rs 320.23 crore.
The fiscal deficit will be overcome through borrowings, with the government of India permitting borrowings to the extent of Rs 1684.41 crore. The allocation of resources will be Rs 1200.44 crore under the capital head and Rs 8723.97 crore under the revenue head, he added.
The total outstanding debt of the UT as of 31st March 2021 is Rs 9334.78 crore, which is 22.17 per cent of GSDP (2020-21) well within FRBM norms. The average growth rate of the UT is around 10 per cent as against the average national growth of 7 to 8 per cent, the CM said.
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and receipt of funds under some schemes from the Central Government at the fag end of the financial year, the expenditure under Centrally Sponsored schemes (CSS) was 64.13%. The unutilized amount under CSS will however be carried over to this financial year for booking expenditure under respective schemes.
Presenting the expenditure pattern, he said that a major portion of the financial resources goes for meeting the committed expenditure such as salaries, pension, repayment of loan and interest payments. Out of the Budget Estimate of Rs 9,924.41 crore, Rs 2,140 crore is allocated for salaries (21.56%), Rs 1,050 crore for pensions (10.58%) and Rs 1,715 crore for debt servicing (17.28%) i.e., payment of loan and payment of interest, and Rs 1,591 crore for power purchase (16.03%). Other major expenditure of the Government includes Old Age Pension and other welfare schemes to the tune of Rs 1,290 crore (13%), Grant-in-aid to a society run higher educational institutions, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies, Co-operative Institutions and others to the extent of Rs 1,243 crore (12.52%).
The Chief Minister said that he has sincerely attempted in this budget to give priority for poverty reduction, health, education, housing for the poor, water resources management in irrigation, socio-economic development of SC/ST, fishermen, women and children, despite resource constraints. More allocation to police infrastructure has been made for strengthening the police force, to prevent crimes and ensure a peaceful Puducherry.
The Government will continue to make concerted efforts for faster economic recovery which will pave the way for enhancing Union Territory fiscal position and improve the fiscal consolidation
- The crop loan availed by farmers through Co-operative banks to be waived off.
- Employees/workers of various Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous Bodies and Co-operative Societies which are operating at a loss, will be given two months salary arrears immediately.
- Reduction of VAT on petrol by 3 per cent to make petrol cheaper by Rs 2.43 per litre.
- The education loan availed by the students through PADCO is to be waived.
- Financial assistance to the parents of poor SC brides for performing the marriage of their children to be enhanced from Rs 75,000 to Rs 1,00,000.
- Financial assistance given to poor people for the construction of houses has been enhanced to Rs 3.50 lakh through the merger of Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Centenary Housing Scheme and Prime Minister Awas Yojana.
- A new 500 bed hospital for treatment of various epidemic infectious diseases to be constructed at Gorimedu.
- The development of Yacht Marina in Puducherry and development of entertainment zone in Manapet under the technical expertise of NITI Aayog.
- “Industrial Status” to be provided to Tourism Sector to encourage private investors/entrepreneurs and to create employment for youths in tourism-related business.
- World Bank assisted the “Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Resource Efficiency” (ENCORE) project to be implemented at an outlay of Rs 111.90 crore.
- A new Bus Stand in Bahour at a cost of Rs 2 crore.
- New water supply works in the Puducherry region and Karaikal region at an estimated cost of Rs 38.42 crore and Rs 14.50 crore respectively
- Development of Fishing Harbour in Karaikal at a cost of Rs 52.90 crore
- Construction of a new bridge over Mahe river and Regulator-cum bridge from Manjakkal to Kallayi at a cost of Rs 38 crore. French Channel Road work at a cost of Rs 2 crore in Yanam region.
- Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) projects and Construction and Demolition waste projects at a suitable location as per the environmental regulation so that the garbage disposal issue will be settled.