TN Budget: finance minister announces Rs 27,922 cr poverty alleviation scheme

Thangam Thennarasu says funds will be used to help rescue about five lakh of the poorest families from poverty

Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin (photo: IANS)
Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin (photo: IANS)
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IANS

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday presented the 2024-25 budget, estimating the revenue deficit at over Rs 49,000 crore and made new announcements aimed at achieving the '7 grand Tamil dreams', which included social justice and women's welfare.

Thangam Thennarasu, who replaced P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan as finance minister last year, presented his maiden budget as a paperless e-budget. Thennarasu said the Union government "continues to stifle our state by exercising arbitrary and discriminatory control over our finances". Further, he said: "The imposition of stringent conditions on the borrowing ceiling by the Union government has unduly restricted the ability of the State to raise resources to fund its development initiatives."

The minister's announcements include the 'Kalaignarin Kanavu Illam', a housing scheme named after the late DMK patriarch and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi. As per the scheme, 8 lakh concrete houses will be constructed across the state to make TN 'hut-free' by 2030. The government earmarked Rs 3,500 crore for the initiative.

"The selected beneficiaries will be provided with house sites in case they are landless and will be provided with funds for constructing the house directly into their bank accounts," the minister announced.

Thennarasu said an amount of Rs 27,922 crore has been allocated under the rural development and panchayat raj department. The minister said that this was announced to launch a "final assault on poverty over the next two years".

The finance minister said that these funds would be used to help rescue about five lakh of the poorest families from poverty. They will be provided the necessary government assistance in an integrated manner.

He added that the government would ensure the participation of elected representatives, charitable organisations, and banks for the initiative piloted by the state government.

The minister also said that under the scheme, the most vulnerable sections of society, including the destitute, elderly persons living alone, single-parent families, orphaned children, those with mental impairments, persons with disabilities and families with children requiring special assistance would be identified.

He said that the identification of the poorest of the poor families will be carried out through the convergence of official databases, field inspections, community participation, and Gram Sabha sessions.

The revenue deficit in the budget estimates for 2024-25 is pegged at Rs 49,278.73 crore. The fiscal deficit in revised estimates 2023-24 is estimated to "marginally increase" to Rs 94,060 crore as against Rs 92,075 crore in budget estimates.

The fiscal deficit as a percentage of GSDP has increased from 3.25 per cent in budget estimates to 3.45 per cent in the revised estimates 2023-24, owing to a downward revision in the GSDP estimates.

Citing latest estimates, the minister said Tamil Nadu has grown at 8.19 per cent in 2022-23 in real terms, compared to the growth of 7.24 per cent at the national level. The government plans to borrow a total amount of Rs nearly 1.56 lakh crore during 2024-25 and make repayment of Rs 49,638 crore.

As a result, the outstanding debt as on 31 March 2025 will be Rs 8.33 lakh crore. "This constitutes 26.41 per cent of GSDP in 2024-25," Thennarasu said. The total revenue receipts of the state government, including the Central transfers, are estimated to be nearly Rs 3 lakh crore in budget estimates 2024-25 as against the revised estimates of Rs 2.73 lakh crore in 2023-24.


Through steps such as resource augmentation and improvement in revenue collection efficiency, the state will attempt to maintain a healthy growth in revenue receipts, the minister said.

Thennarasu made a number of announcements in various sectors including housing, education and infrastructure. The total revenue expenditure was estimated at Rs 3.48 lakh crore.

Besides the standard increase in committed expenditure on salaries, pensions and interest payments, the allocation for subsidies and transfers has been fixed at over Rs 1.46 lakh crore.

"This increase is primarily owing to an additional expenditure of Rs 5,696 crore under the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai Thittam (women's rights scheme offering Rs 1,000 a month) over the previous year, to provide for its first full year of implementation," Thennarasu said.

"In aggregate, the revenue deficit is estimated at Rs 49,279 crore in budget estimates 2024-25. This includes an amount of Rs 14,442 crore for loss funding to TANGEDCO. Excluding this amount, the revenue deficit is estimated to be Rs 34,837 crore in the coming year.

It is notable that this is lesser than the revenue deficit excluding loss funding to TANGEDCO as compared to the budget estimates 2023-24," the minister said. The fiscal deficit was estimated at nearly Rs 1.09 lakh crore in the budget estimates 2024-25, which was 3.44 per cent of the GSDP.

"In line with the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the government is following the glide path of fiscal consolidation and has reduced it from 3.46 per cent in 2022-23 to 3.45 per cent in 2023-24 to 3.44 per cent in 2024-25. This has been achieved despite the impact of disasters (floods) and after an unprecedented allocation to TANGEDCO from within the budgetary resources."

"This Budget underscores the commitment of this Government to deliver on the promises made to the people, without wavering from the path of prudent fiscal management, in spite of numerous challenges," he said.

The State's Own Tax Revenue has been estimated at Rs 1.95 lakh crore in the budget estimates 2024-25, which is a growth of 14.71 per cent over the revised estimates 2023-24. This includes Rs 1.43 lakh crore from commercial taxes, Rs 23,370 crore from stamps and registration, Rs 12,247 crore from state excise and Rs 11,560 crore from motor vehicle taxes.

In anticipation of sustained levels of collection from the State's Own Non-Tax Revenue, an amount of Rs 30,728 crore has been estimated in the budget estimates 2024-25. "As the GST compensation dues will completely end from the coming year, there is a reduction in Grants-in-Aid in the Budget Estimates 2024-25, as compared to the Revised Estimates 2023-24. The Grants-in-Aid are estimated to be Rs 23,354 crore.

Based on the allocation made in the Union Budget 2024-25, the estimates fixed for Share in Central Taxes for the year 2024-25 are Rs.49,755 crore."

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