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Friday, March 21, 2008

TN budget on expected lines

VILLUPURAM: K Anbhazhagan, The Tamilnadu Finance Minister, seems to have taken his cue from the Union Finace Minister, as the State budget for the year 2008-09 was pretty much on the lines that Chidambaram had laid — populist, witth plenty of sops and tax cuts.

DA hike for government employees, waiver schemes for farmers, new engineering and medical colleges, more buses (3500), sops for women, new SEZs ...the gravytrain chugged along merrily.

While the total revenue was pegged at Rs.51,505.62 crore, the total revenue expenditure was Rs.51,421.57 crore.

Capital expenditure including loans and advances was at Rs.9,876.35 crore, and total deficit was Rs.9,792.30 crore.


In an effort to rejuvenate the agri-sector, Rs.1500 crore has been set apart for new crop loans.

The rate of interest on crop loan has also been cut to 4 per cent from 5 per cent. Foodgrain production has been estimated to be over 100 lakh tons.

The Finance Minster said efforts will be made continuously to prevail upon the Union government to fix Rs.1000 as procurement price for paddy.

To enable farmers to insure their crop Rs.40 crore has been allotted. A 25 per cent subsidy will be given to farmers who use harvest equipment. Ten thousand self-help groups will be formed with a total membership of one lakh farmers.

Ration cards

An e-service scheme will be implemented at District Collectorates at an estimate of Rs. 5 crore which would enable all eligible families to get ration cards. New initiatives will be taken to prevent road accidents.

In districts like Karur, Tiruchi and Ariyalur, permanent flood prevention initiatives wil be taken up.

Similarly, flood prevention measures would be taken up in all important canals and rivers. In a bid to increase to milk production, under a new scheme, 10,000 hybrid breed milch cows will be given to Women Self Helf Groups.

New Assembly complex

An allocation of Rs.75 crore has been made to facilitate the construction of a new assembly complex. Construction work will begin this financial year.

Schools at various levels will be upgraded. Tuition fee will be abolished in an effort to provide full-fledged free education at government and aided schools.

Similarly, a special fee of Rs.1200 for students at government technical training centres will be waived.

New professional colleges

New enginerring colleges would be set up at Tindivanam, Villupuram, Panruti, Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram.

In Perambalur and Sivaganga new government medical colleges will be set up.Tax exemption has been made for the purchase of gold upto 8 grams for Muslim and Christian brides. A similar exemption for Hindu women is already in force.

Tax exemption & cut

Soya edible oil, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander seed, cocunut milk powder, packed tender coconut, jaggery, rubber blended woven cloth are among the list of items that have been expempted from tax. Bread, bun, rusk, raw materials for siddha medicine, have also been expempted.

A tax cut from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent has been made for the sale of used vehicels. Appropriate amendments will be made in the Value Added Tax to simplify it.

DA hike for govt staff

The Centre hiked the Dearness Allowance (DA) from 41 to 47 per cent from 1 January 2008.

In an effort to bring parity, the State government decided to hike the DA to six per cent since January.

As a result of the upward revision, the State would have to shell out an additional Rs.136 crore in the current fiscal and Rs.817 crore in the next fiscal.The DA arrears will be disbursed in cash to the State government staff.


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