Puducherry CM presents budget amid protest, walkout by opposition MLAs

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, on Monday presented a Rs 7,530 crore budget, which imposes no fresh taxes, in the territorial Assembly, amidst protest and walkout by the opposition MLAs.

In his 75-minute long address, Narayanasamy said, “Of Rs 7,530 crores which is the projected outlay of the budget, the Union Territory’s own resources for the current fiscal is estimated at Rs 4,570 crores while the Central assistance would be Rs 1,476 crores.” He said the anticipated grants for the Centrally sponsored schemes was estimated at Rs 409 crores.

The remaining Rs 1,050 crores would be met from “open market borrowings and loans from the Central financial institutions”, he said.

“A major portion of the financial resources of Puducherry goes to meeting the committed expenditure of salaries, pension, loan and interest payments and purchase of power,” he noted.

While Rs 1,800 crores have been allocated for disbursement of salaries out of the budget estimate, Rs 875 crores are earmarked for payment of pension and Rs 1,380 crores for debt servicing (repayment of loan and payment of interest) and Rs 1200 crores for purchase of power, he added.

The chief minister pointed out that during the previous financial year (2017-2108) the expenditure incurred was Rs 6,757 crores marking 95 per cent of the revenue target.

He recalled that after creating a separate public account of Puducherry with effect from December 2007, the Central government had dispensed with the grant of plan loans for the Union Territory.

“The Puducherry government has been permitted to avail of the loan through open market borrowings and from Central financial institutions like HUDCO and NABARD for funding plan schemes,” he said.

Within minutes of the chief minister commencing his budget speech, the Opposition legislators belonging to the AINRC and AIADMK registered their protest against the government and staged a walkout. Earlier, they alleged that none of the promises held out by the government in the last budget were fulfilled.

The House adjourned after the chief minister presented the budget to meet tomorrow at 9.30 am.