TN govt’s 3-year capex Rs 10K crore more than AIADMK’s tally in 10 years: Thennarasu

Finance Minister says state government is contributing a significant share to central schemes
Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu.
Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu.(File | PTI)

CHENNAI: Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu on Thursday countered AIADMK’s charges that capital expenditure had come down under the present government due to increasing debt burden. He also dismissed allegations that the state government is taking credit for the Union government’s schemes.

Replying to the discussion on the general budget for 2024-25 in the Assembly, the minister said, “During the 10 years of AIADMK rule, the total amount spent on capital expenditure was just Rs 16,732 crore. But despite severe financial constraits, the DMK government’s capital expenditure in the past three years was Rs 26,613 crore,” he said.

Giving details about other projects where capital expenditure is involved, Thennarasu said the state government had decided to implement the second phase of the Metro Rail project in Chennai at a total cost of Rs 63,246 crore, the Coimbatore Metro Rail project at Rs 10,740 crore and the Madurai Metro Rail project at Rs 11,368 crore. “Besides, combined drinking water projects at a total cost of Rs 9,535 crore, and road and bridges at Rs 17,890 crore will be implemented. For the transport sector, Rs 2,966 crore has been allocated,” he said.

Alleging that the opposition parties made misleading remarks about the state government’s debt without basic understanding of fiscal management, the minister said in 2011, the total size of the budget was Rs 1.02 lakh crore. “Now, it has gone up to Rs 4.12 lakh crore. The GSDP stands at Rs 31.55 lakh crore. Depending on the growth of the state, the borrowing capacity would also go up,” he said.

“In 2021-22, the central government has received Rs 5.8 lakh crore through cess and surcharge. In 2022-23, this has gone up to Rs 6.19 lakh crore. In the current year, it touched `6.5 lakh crore and for the forthcoming year, the target is Rs 6.95 lakh crore. Had the union government shared this revenue with the states, Tamil Nadu would have got Rs 41,800 crore. Through this, the debt burden as well as the revenue deficit would have gone down drastically,” he asserted.

Stating that there is a concerted campaign under way to dub the union government schemes as state’s, he asserted that the Tamil Nadu government is playing a major role in the implementation of central schemes.

For instance, for building a house under Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Rural) scheme, Rs 1.2 lakh is the subsidy. Of this, the centre gives Rs 72,000 while the Tamil Nadu government pays Rs 48,000. Pointing out that this was insufficient for building a house, he said the TN government is paying Rs 1.2 lakh as an additional roofing cost, increasing the total subsidy to the beneficiary to Rs 2.4 lakh. “Therefore, while the state government gave Rs 1.68 lakh in total, the centre gave Rs 72,000, which is roughly 30 % of the total subsidy. But the nomenclature given to this scheme is PM’s Awas Yojana,” he quipped.

Similarly, the centre’s contribution to a house under the PM Awas Yojana (Urban) is just Rs 1.5 lakh. But the Tamil Nadu government gives a seven-fold contribution for each house. Referring to the Kalaignarin Kanavu Illam Scheme announced in the budget in which the unit cost of a house is fixed at Rs 3.5 lakh, Thennarasu said the scheme will be implemented using the state funds.

Stating that without waiting for the central funds, the state government has extended numerous assistance to the flood-hit people, the minister expressed confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will be visiting Thoothukudi later this month will give relief assistance to the people affected by calamity that happened in the ‘plains’.

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