Tamil Nadu budget 2017: spares the common man from new tax

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar presented the revenue deficit budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 without adding any new taxes.

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar presented the revenue deficit budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 without adding any new taxes.

Tamil Nadu budgets have been tax-free in the past three years.

The State Finance Minister highlighted that the local economy was "slowly picking up" but the "continuing sluggishness" of the global economy and the note ban affected it "significantly".

The budget posted Tamil Nadu's growth at 9 per cent from an existing level of 7.49 per cent.

The state's fiscal deficit has been recorded at 4.58 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year 2016-17 and is expected to further come down to less than 3 per cent in the next fiscal.

Jayakumar also announced that the State Development Policy Council will replace State Planning Commission.

Additionally, the budget alloted Rs 585 crore has been alloted to three districts affected by the Cyclone Vardah.

Rs 2600 crore as relief to be provided to farmers through direct benefit transfer through the State Disaster Fund.

Rs 469 crores has been alloted towards eradicating poverty in rural areas and Rs 272 crore being alloted for eradicating poverty in urban areas.

Rs 625 crore allotted for providing drinking water across the State.

A Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project will be undertaken in 127 rural districts with a fund of Rs 1000 crore from World Bank.

The budget also spelled out that 3.5 lakh poor families will be given free land pattas. This was one of AIAFDMK's poll promise.

The Finance Minister proposed to establish a world class Tamil Cultural Heritage Museum at Madurai.

However, the DMK working President and Leader of opposition M K Stalin described the budget to be "old wine in new bottle."

He said the first budget of the Edappadi K Palaniswami government did not spell out any new schemes, especially in power generation. There was also not any announcement on farm loan waiver.

He added that the debt burden in AIADMK rule, "whether under (the late) J Jayalalithaa or O Panneerselvam or Palaniswami now, has only been increasing."

Finance Minister Jayakumar ended the Budget speech by praising 'Amma' Jayalalithaa and assuring that all flagship schemes of the late Chief Minister like Amma canteens, Amma salt, Amma Pharmacy and vegetable outlets will continue.

This was the first budget in the absence of former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha.