Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today dubbed the budget as a “difficult balancing task” welcoming several of its features while Leader of Opposition in Assembly M K Stalin said it was a “mix of change and disappointment.” “This Budget does a difficult balancing task. But the people of the State of Tamil Nadu had still higher expectations,” Panneerselvam said.
“I commend the Union Finance Minister on the difficult balancing task that he has done and his focus on the broad themes of structural reforms.” He said, “the taxation measures on the personal income tax side, however, fall short of the expectations of the salaried middle classes.”
Hitting out at the Centre on the new 10 per cent cess of 10 per cent for those in the Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore income bracket, he said, “the levy of surcharge is a retrograde measure by which the Centre is trying to avoid sharing its tax proceeds with States. I deprecate this practice.” He expressed serious concern about “implications of the proposed National Testing Agency to conduct nationwide entrance examinations.”
He said,”Tamil Nadu’s stance on examinations like the National Eligibility and Entrance Test for medical college admissions is well known.” “I urge the Government of India to ensure that national level testing is not imposed or forced in States like Tamil Nadu which already have a transparent, fair and robust system of admission based on a school leaving examination which is conducted with unimpeached integrity,” he said.
He welcomed initiatives including Mission Antyodaya, enhanced allocation for MGNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Innovation Fund for Secondary Education, and online learning platform SWAYAM. The emphasis on agriculture and enhancing farmers’ income are welcome features of the Budget, he said.
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Though the budget spoke of revival of farm sector growth, it did not highlight acute drought in Tamil Nadu. “A special package for drought affected farmers would have been a very welcome feature,” he said. He welcomed doing away with “irrelevant distinction between Plan and Non Plan schemes.”
Also, he welcomed implementation of Core Banking Solutions for Primary Agricultural Cooperatives and wanted the Centre to ensure more loans from commercial banks to farmers against cultivation related documents and not as jewel loans. DMK working president M K Stalin said “budget is a mix of change and disappointment.” “Tamil Nadu has been largely ignored in the Budget,” he said.
It was disappointing that initiatives like AIIMS Hospital, interlinking of Rivers, Metro Rail extension does not figure in the Budget, he noted. He said the policies enumerated by Jaitley does not have “employment generation features” for the youth and “it is a big disappointment.”