Tamil Nadu Budget – Loksatta Party statement
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 @ 6:14PM
The Loksatta Party view the Tamil Nadu budget as yet another populist budget without any vision for long term development. It started with praising the former chief minister Ms. Jayalalitha and ended blaming the Union government for the reduced allocation of Central funds. It has been stated that the state GDP will be more than 9% in the fiscal year 2015-2016. However there is no clarity on how this growth level will be achieved.
Let us have a detailed analysis of the various aspects of the budget:
The allocation for School education is high as usual at Rs 20,926 crores. However the effectiveness of such high expenditure is very less. This is obvious from our abysmal performance in standardized tests like PISA and ASER reports. The announcement that all the government schools in the state have been provisioned with toilets is a blatant lie.
The allocation for higher education stands at Rs 3696 crores. In spite of such high allocations last year as well and promises that new medical colleges will be opened, the rejection of 200 additional seats in Coimbatore medical college by MCI citing lack of infrastructure shows how badly this allocated amount is utilized.
The party suggests that the government should focus on ‘Outcomes’ based approach rather than an “Inputs’ based approach to effectively use the allocation for education.
Though the allocation is Rs 6613 crores and is higher than the previous years, this still couldn’t match the expectation of the farmers. It is a double tragedy that the government opposes Foreign Direct Investments in Retail and at the same time doesn’t have any plans for cold storage for agricultural produce. Rs 5500 crores is allocated for Farmers loan. However keeping in mind the inflation this will cover the same land area as that of last year.
The allocation of Rs 250 crores for Rivers linking project should be put to use unlike previous years where it was just a lip service.
The allocation of Rs 5568 crores to the police should be used to modernize the department. Long pending demands like Video recording of interogations, installation of CCTV cameras in police stations should be implemented in phases.
The current energy demand of the state stands at 13,700 MW. Energy deficiency has crippled the industry and in turn has affected the GSDP of the state. However there is no new projects announced and the government is silent on the implementation of existing projects. We demand that the government should publish a white paper on the status of investments in Energy sector. The announcement that all the government has fulfilled all the energy requirements in the state is farcical. Already power cuts ranging from 1 to 4 hours have started in the districts.
A sum of Rs 134 crores allocated to build 169 new courts. However if it is decided to build 1,500 new local courts, lakhs of pending cases would have been settled. These local courts will greatly help people to gain faith in judiciary.
Funds to Local bodies
The state government blames the Union government for reduced central funds and demands higher allocation. However the state government is really not interested in decentralization of governance and the fund allocation of third tier governments (local bodies/corporations) is less than 2% of the total budget. Service delivery can be improved only if we have more autonomy for local governments.
Loksatta Party has been long demanding that the permanent solution to Srilankan-Indian fishermen issue is deep sea fishing. The boats for deep-sea fishing cost between 60 and 70 lakh rupees. It is disappointing that there is no allocation in this budget to subsidize deep-sea fishing boats for the welfare of fishermen.
Healthcare: There is no special announcement for healthcare. This is worrisome considering the reduced allocations in the Union budget as well.
The government is setting up temporary camps to speed-up public service delivery. However these temporary camps will not be of much use and we want ‘Right To Services’ act in the state to handle this systematically. Also there is no announcement on the Lok Ayukta courts in the state.
The budget lacks long term vision and there is no clarity on how the projected growth of 9% will be achieved. The imminent power shortage which will further cripple industry and investment, corruption in government including high profile corruption involving ministers are our biggest challenges and nothing has been announced in this budget to address these challenges.