On Monday, 20 March, the Tamil Nadu government led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) tabled the budget for the financial year 2023–24. The state finance minister, Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, presented the budget in the State Legislative Assembly in Chennai.
The AIADMK MLAs staged a walkout, alleging irregularities in the Erode East by-election and claiming that voters struggled as they were hoarded up in temporary camps and polling booths.
From announcing schemes and projects targeted towards the improvement of education, health, and other departments to pointing out that the state's revenue deficit was reduced by Rs 30,000 crore from Rs 62,000 crore, here are the key highlights of FM Palanivel Thiaga Rajan in his budget speech.
TN Budget Key Highlights
The higher education department gets Rs 6,967 crore, the health department gets Rs 18,661 crore and the school education department gets Rs 40,299 crore.
For students' education: Rs 1,500 crore will be allotted for improving infrastructure in government schools, by constructing new buildings. The school education department allocated Rs 40,229 crore in the budget. Rs 500 crore was allotted for the breakfast scheme for school children.
All the schools under the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare departments will be brought under the school education department. Modern hostels for SC/ST students will be built at a cost of Rs 100 crore in Madurai, Coimbatore, the Nilgiris, and Trichy.
Tamil Nadu will set up upskilling centres that provide training in advanced technology, including mechatronics, the Internet of Things, advanced automotive technology, precision engineering, and advanced welding.
To protect people’s health: Rs 18,661 crore is allotted for the health and family welfare department.
The state government's 'Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam' scheme will be extended to workers in industries and the unorganised sector, benefiting 8.3 lakh workers in 711 industries in its first phase.
Kalaignar Memorial Multi-Specialty Hospital, which is under construction in Guindy, will be inaugurated this financial year.
To support women, transgender people, and people with disabilities:
Rs 2500 crore is earmarked for a free bus ride scheme for women, trans persons, persons with disabilities (PWD), and their attendants in ordinary government buses. Rs 30,000 crore was allocated for loans to women's self-help groups.
The state announced the much-expected Rs 1000 honorarium for 'eligible' women heading families. This was a key poll promise of the DMK government which was also reiterated by Chief Minister MK Stalin in the run-up to the Erode by-poll last month.
To uplift the oppressed communities: A new scheme named after 'Annal Ambedkar' would be launched, for which Rs 100 crore has been allocated. The scheme aims to promote economic development by creating entrepreneurship opportunities for people belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities.
The "Iyothee Thass Pandithar Habitation Development Scheme," to be launched at Rs 1000 crore for five years and it will ensure basic amenities in Adi Dravidar habitations in both urban and rural areas and bring about comprehensive socio-economic development.
To enable sports, tourism, and infrastructure in the state: A world-class global sports centre will be set up in Chennai by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be renovated with modern sports facilities at a cost of Rs 25 crore.
A total of 10,000 kilometres of rural roads is set be improved. Bus roads and link roads for a length of 5,145 km will be taken up for upgrade at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore in 2023–24.
Initiatives with an eye for environment: Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary will be created in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. Rs 320 crores will be alloted for flood mitigation and clearing water channels. Water bodies in rural areas will be renovated in the next two years at a cost of Rs. 800 crore.
"Tamil Nadu Coastal Restoration Mission" in collaboration with the World Bank was announced which will mitigate climate change in coastal regions and protect livelihoods.The estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore will be allocated in the next five years.
What do the state's most important cities have in store?
The state capital Chennai gets a major infrastructure push as per the budget. A four-way bridge to be set up from Teynampet to Saidapet at a cost of Rs 621 crore to help reduce traffic congestion in the city.
Neglected North Chennai will get a boost with Rs 1,000 crore allotted for the development of basic amenities and infrastructure in North Chennai.
Coimbatore and Madurai will get Metro Rail support at a budget of Rs 9,000 crore and Rs 8,500 crore, respectively.