TN budget loaded with sops, mega announcements

The last full year budget of the AIADMK government before the 2021 Assembly elections, which was set to be presented today by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, also holding the finance portfolio, was expected to have mega announcements like free breakfast to school students.

It is expected that more funds will be allocated for the conservation of water bodies including the Kudimaramathu scheme. Experts opined that funds will be allotted for the construction of Collector offices in the newly formed districts. Announcements regarding the foreign investments in the State are also expected to be made.

Panneerselvam is set to present the State Budget in the Assembly for the 10th time on February 14. While no one has come anywhere close to Panneerselvam’s record as far as the last 20 years are concerned, he is still behind three others, if one takes into account the presentation of State Budgets since 1952.

Barring a 6-month period in 2017 when he was not part of the Cabinet, Panneerselvam has served as Finance Minister since May 2011.

Recently, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami chaired a meeting during which discussions were made about the ways to handle the issues that would be raised in the Assembly by the opposition. The Cabinet meeting was attended by Panneerselvam and other Ministers during which funds needed for different departments that will be allocated during the budget session was discussed.

After the budget is tabled, Speaker P Dhanapal will call for the Business Advisory Committee meeting during which the duration of the present session will be decided.

The session was likely to last one week after which the House would assemble again to take up the demand for grants for various departments.

The session was expected to generate more heat as the Opposition led by the DMK would be raising a host of issues, including the CAA which has been witnessing widespread protests across the State.