Cabinet meeting gives approval for the decision; several populist measures likely
The AIADMK government has decided to present a full budget with several populist measures in view of the Assembly election.
According to sources, a meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the Secretariat on Saturday, approved a full budget, which is expected to be presented by February 22.
Normally, an interim budget is presented in an election year.
“But we are in a position to present a full budget and the people can expect a lot of announcements to their liking. The session will be held for five days as the Assembly has to approve the budget,” a source said.
Government sources said the Union government’s decision to enhance the States’ borrowing limit by 2% of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in view of multiple challenges forced by COVID-19 had come in handy for Tamil Nadu. The Union Finance Ministry said half of the special dispensation — 1% of the GSDP — was linked to undertaking various citizen-centric reforms by the State. Tamil Nadu’s GSDP for 2020-21 (at the current prices) is projected to be ₹20,91,927 crore. This is 13% higher than the revised estimate for 2019-20.
“The 2% loan on the GSDP is expected to give a greater leeway for the introduction of populist schemes. Tamil Nadu has also fulfilled the four citizen-centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure: implementation of the One Nation One Ration card system; ease of doing business; urban local body/utility reforms; and power sector reforms,” a source explained.
The implementation of the One Nation One Ration card system had enabled Tamil Nadu to borrow an additional ₹4,813 crore.
Tamil Nadu will immediately start issuing ‘pattas’ for those who have been living on government land for years. “We will also revive the ‘thalikku thangam’ (gold for mangalsutra) scheme, which was stalled a year ago,” the sources said.
“Tamil Nadu handled the COVID-19 lockdown well and industries functioned without any hitch, and our balance-sheets are strong. We have achieved 5.8% growth. We can borrow from multi-national organisations,” the sources added.