Pondy CM presents tax-free budget for 2017-2018

Puducherry
25 May 2017

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today presented a Rs.6,945 crore tax-free budget for Puducherry for the fiscal 2017-2018 amidst a boycott by the opposition AINRC and AIADMK Legislators.
Presenting the budget in the in the territorial Assembly, he said that the total budget outlay projected is Rs.6,945 crore comprising Rs. 4,445 crore for non-plan head and Rs. 2,500 crore under plan. The contribution from Puducherry government's own resources "is estimated at Rs. 4,022 crore and the Central assistance of Rs.1,411 crore."
He said that the anticipated grants from the Centre under the centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS) including the Central Road Fund (CRF) had been estimated at Rs.361 crore and the balance of Rs.1,151 crore would be met through open market borrowing and also from other financial institutions.
He said out of the total budget outlay around 60 per cent would be allocated towards committed expenditure comprising Rs.1,650.40 crore for payment of salaries, Rs. 663.27 crore for pension, Rs.1,112.88 crore for debt services (payment of interest and repayment of loan) and Rs. 1,012.19 crore for purchase of electricity.
Narayanasamy also said that during the previous year (2016-2017), the government had incurred an expenditure to the tune of Rs.6,144 crore as against the revised estimate of Rs 6,550 crore "which is the highest ever spending in the history of the Union Territory of Puducherry."
The Chief Minister said, "despite financial hardship my government has implemented the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission for payment of salaries and pension to government servants."
Narayanasamy said that "despite my government's best efforts the Centre is yet to release the additional grant towards non-plan gap grant and for implementation of the Central Pay Commission recommendation."
He said that the fiscal 2016-2017 was "not a financially favourable year for revenue mobilisation because of impact of demonetisation and various judicial pronouncements related to excise and registration matters."  He said that despite non-receipt of additional grant sought from the Centre, "the government has taken steps to manage the State's finances satisfactorily."
He also pointed out that during the current year the Puducherry government `has to pay an additional amount of Rs 347 crores towards repayment of loans availed in the year 2007-2008 repeat 2007-2008.
Highlighting the various proposals sector-wise, he said that it had been planned to strengthen the irrigation infrastructure under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) through PWD at a cost of Rs.972.92 crore in Puducherry, Rs.1,195.57 crore in Karaikal, Rs.85.66 crore in Yanam and Rs.23.16 crore in Mahe.
Narayanasamy said the Puducherry government had taken all "effective steps for smooth rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the House had already passed unanimously the GST Bill 2017."  He also announced that there was a proposal to introduce a health insurance scheme for media persons apart from provision of house sites to reporters who were not provided them under the "free house site" scheme.
Narayanasamy said it had been proposed to implement comprehensive water supply and sewerage project by utilising loan to the tune of Rs.1,480 crore from the French Agency Development institution.
As soon as the Chief Minister started presenting the budget all the members of the opposition AINRC and AIADMK rose to allege that the government had not delivered on any of its earlier promises.
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition N Rangasamy (AINRC) led his party legislators' walkout.
The Legislature wing leader of the AIADMK (Amma) A Anbalagan also charged the government with failing the people on several counts and led the party's boycott of the budget proceedings. (PTI)