The ruling DMK on Friday presented its first budget after coming to power, months after it swept the April 6 Assembly elections, with the opposition AIADMK boycotting the financial exercise. An increase in maternity leave for women employees by 3 more months, tax reduction on petrol and allocation of Rs 1.50 crore for the transgender community pension scheme are among the key features in the budget.
Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan allocated Rs. 80.26 crore for the Tamil Development Department and Rs 29.43 crore for Archeology. In a first, Rs 5 crore has been allocated to carry out archeological excavations in the state in a scientific manner.
“Considering the poor and middle class being affected by the rise in petrol prices, Chief Minister MK Stalin has ordered to reduce the tax on petrol to Rs 3," PTR said.
The AIADMK, Tamil Nadu's main opposition, however, staged a walkout from the Assembly, boycotting the first budget.
During the first paperless budget session in TN, Finance Minister PTR said that the government will set up the Tamil Nadu Green Movement to increase the tree density in the state to 33 percent of the state's land area. Under this Green Movement, with the co-operation of various sectors, public and private organizations and with the full participation of the state people, a major tree-planting project will be implemented over the next 10 years.
“Maternity leave for women government employees will be increased from 9 months to 12 months. Rs 1.50 crore allocated for transgender community pension scheme," he said.
“Arrangements will be made to provide drinking water connection facilities to 83.92 lakh families by the end of March 2024 who are without drinking water connection,” PTR said.
“Rs 17,899.17 crore has been allocated to the Highways Department and Rs 623.59 crore to purchase 1,000 new buses. Rs 32,599.54 crore has been allocated for school education department and 10 new government arts and science colleges will be opened in Tamil Nadu this year. Smart classes worth Rs 10 crore will be launched in 25 government arts and science colleges,” he said.
The budget said that separate experts committee will be established to claim the GST compensation due to the state from the Centre.
The State Finance Minister further allocated Rs 703 crore for free travel for women in public buses. Besides, Rs 409.30 crore has been allocated for implementing the scheme of providing free school uniforms to children from classes 1 to 8.
“Considering the poor and middle class being affected by the rise in petrol prices, Chief Minister MK Stalin has ordered to reduce the tax on petrol to Rs 3- PTR
As soon as Speaker Appavu gave tips to MLAs on accessing budget document on their computer, leader of opposition, K Palaniswami began reading out from a prepared text and sought an opportunity to covey his views. While opposition MLAs stood up, requesting the Speaker to give Palaniswami an opportunity, Appavu said they can convey their views on Monday during general discussion and asked them to sit down.
However, Palaniswami continued to read out from the statement, and after he completed it, AIADMK members, led by him, walked out of the House. However, AIADMK's allies-BJP and PMK, stayed put.
This is the first budget, also the first paperless one, of the DMK government after it assumed power in May after a 10-year stint in opposition.