PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy, who holds the finance portfolio, on Monday presented a tax-free Rs 7,540 crore budget for the financial year 2018-19.
“The Union territory’s own resources for the current year have been estimated at Rs 4,570 crore (61%) and the assistance from the central government will be Rs 1,476 crore. The anticipated grants for centrally sponsored scheme is estimated as Rs 409 crore. The remaining Rs 1,050 crore (14%) will be met from open market borrowings and loans from central financial institutions,” Narayanasamy told the assembly.
He said a major portion of financial resources goes to meeting the committed expenditure of salaries, pension, loan and interest payments and power purchase. “Out of the budget estimate of Rs 7,540 crore, Rs 1,800 crore is allocated for salaries (24%), Rs 875 crore for pensions (12%), Rs 1,380 crore for debt servicing (18%); i.e., repayment of loan and payment of interest, and Rs 1,200 crore for power purchase (16%). Other committed expenditures are Rs 540 crore (7%) for old age pension and other welfare schemes, and grant in aid (salaries and general) to the public sector undertakings and cooperative institutions to the extent of Rs 762 crore (10%),” he said.
The government achieved 95% of the revenue target spending Rs 6,757 crore in the last fiscal year (2017-18). It spent 82% on centrally sponsored schemes, which was the highest ever spending in the history of Puducherry, he said. “The revenue growth in 2017-18 as compared to previous year was Rs 505 crore,” he said.
The chief minister said the government had been persistently requesting the central government to waive of legacy loan of Rs 2,177 crore. He said the government had been making efforts to secure more grants from the central government to meet the expenditure on the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations for the government servants to the tune of Rs 1,050 crore.
Similarly, Puducherry has been urging the Centre to include the Union territory under the ambit of the 15th Finance Commission, to provide additional funds to meet the non-plan expenditure gap and reimbursement of retirement benefits on the lines of the Delhi government.
“I have reiterated these demands in the chief ministers’ conference held under the chairmanship of hon’ble Prime Minister organised by the Niti Aayog. No reply has been received from the government of India so far. Against this background my government has been making sincere efforts to continue all welfare schemes with the available resources,” Narayanasamy said.
The per capita income of Puducherry is Rs 1.95 lakh while the territory’s growth rate of GSDP for the year 2017-18 stood at 11.4% as against the central government’s 7%. The total outstanding debt obligations of Puducherry including the loans taken from the financial year 2007-08 to 2017-18 stood at Rs 7,730 crore, which is 25% of the GSDP, the chief minister said.