Chennai: The finances of the Tamil Nadu government, which were looking south in the months when the Covid-19 lockdown came into effect, are now looking better after revenue collection.
“We expected the fiscal deficit to be around Rs 85,000 crore for the current financial year in the months after March but after September onwards, we have revised the deficit to be less than Rs 80,000 crore. This is due to better revenue collection from sale of fuel, liquor and SGST,” a senior official told News18 in an exclusive chat.
In the revised budget to be presented along with the vote on account in the assembly early next year, the government is expected to show that its total revenue for the current year will be around 15% less compared to last year.
The official said the revenue from liquor and fuel sales have become normal. “Revenue from all sources, including GST, is more or less normal since September. It is only from service sector, revenue is less as some sections of the sector are yet to return to the normal,” said the official.
Information Technology sector has been contributing a good amount of revenue to the government. “Even when the lockdown was intense, IT sector alone worked from home and the revenue from this section did not decline while revenue from all other sectors came down,” said the official.
Government officials were surprised when the chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a cash gift of Rs 2,500 for the coming Pongal festival.
“We expected the government to announce Rs 1,500 for Pongal as already the government has distributed Rs 1,000 soon after the lockdown came into effect. That would have made the total to Rs 2,500. But with the CM announcing Rs 2,500 for Pongal, the total expenditure increases to Rs 3,500 and due to this there is an additional expenditure of Rs 3,000 crore,” said the official.
Asked about the GSDP growth, the official said the government is confident of having a positive growth this year. “Growth in the agriculture sector is very good and similarly, manufacturing sector growth has also picked up. Due to this we are expecting a positive growth. In the last few months, the stamp and registration sector has seen good increase in the number of registrations,” said the official.
Among the government departments, health department has received the maximum amount from the budget. “The allocation for the health department is around 30% more than last year. The increase in amount to the department was used to increase the infrastructure in various hospitals which are treating Covid patients. Similarly, additional funds were used to purchase Covid equipment, medicines etc,” he said.