Adequate funds have been allotted to several existing schemes introduced by the government and also to new schemes so that there is a substantial increase in state’s own tax revenues (SOTR), said Additional Chief Secretary, Finance department, N Muruganandam.
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“We are expecting a good growth in SOTR because of various reasons. The economy is picking up and hopefully there will not be any disruptions as compared to the last two-three years, therefore SOTR should go up…lot of technologies are being included in (government departments like) registration department, commercial taxes department. So, we hope actual SOTR will increase substantially,” he told reporters.
Explaining some of the salient features of the budget, he said to upgrade the infrastructure for several government schools about Rs 7,000 crore has been earmarked in the budget for the next five years which would be utilised for setting up smart classrooms, computer labs, construction of compound walls, 18,000 new classrooms among others.
“Last year, the government had set up model schools in 10 districts. This year, it will be expanded to another 15 districts and an amount of Rs 125 crore is being allocated for this purpose,” he said.
As part of encouraging women to take up college education, he said the government would deposit Rs 1,000 every month in the bank accounts of those students who pursue higher education in government colleges after completing studies in government schools.
Elaborating further, he said only 46 per cent of girl students take up graduation after finishing school and this scheme was announced to encourage more women pursue higher education.
“About six lakh girl students are studying in various government schools. They stand to benefit out of this scheme,” he said.
To upgrade infrastructure in government-run colleges, Rs 1,000 crore has been set up for the next five years of which Rs 250 crore is allotted for this year, the senior bureaucrat said.
Noting that several schemes were announced towards creation of new jobs, Muruganandam said the government would encourage start-ups and those products manufactured by these entities would be directly procured by government departments.
“To encourage start-ups to be on par with start-ups in Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Hyderabad, many schemes were announced in the budget. The innovative products manufactured by the start-ups will be procured by government departments,” he said.
The finance secretary said Tamil Nadu was holding a key position in exports and added that Rs 100 crore has been allotted as special fund to boost exports. “This fund will be utilised to upgrade infrastructure in places like Vaniyambadi, Ambur…,” he said.
“This budget has laid emphasis for overall growth across sectors,” he said and pointed out that for the first time since 2014, revenue deficit is set to decrease by over Rs 7,000 crore.
Though the revenue deficit since 2014 has risen every year in an intimidating manner, it has been changed ‘for the first time’ this year, he said.
According to Minister Thiaga Rajan, Tamil Nadu would see a reduction in the absolute level of the revenue deficit by over Rs 7,000 crore, reversing an alarming trend of increasing deficits every year since 2014.
“…we are poised to see a significant reduction of the fiscal deficit, from 4.61 per cent down to 3.80 per cent even during such a challenging year,” the minister said.