M.K. Stalin addressing the media on Friday   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

TN Budget 2020-21: Debt has tripled since DMK regime, says Stalin​


Picking holes in the budget presented by Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam in the Assembly, DMK president and Leader of the Opposition M. K. Stalin on Friday said the State’s debt burden has tripled since 2011 when the DMK demitted office. ​

​While the debt during the erstwhile DMK regime [2006-11] was only about ₹1 lakh crore, it has increased to ₹4.56 lakh crore this time, Mr. Stalin pointed out. Interacting with reporters soon after the House adjourned for the day, Mr. Stalin said: “There is no vision or any development plan in the budget. There is finance deficit and revenue deficit. There is so much debt.”​

​He wondered why more funds have been allocated for the portfolios held by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Ministers P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani. The DMK president also claimed this would be the last budget presented by the AIADMK government.​

​Taking a dig at Mr. Panneerselvam for having read out his speech for a long time, Mr. Stalin said the AIADMK government was following the steps of the BJP government at the Centre. While Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her budget speech in the Parliament for about 159 minutes, Mr. Panneerselvam read out his for 196 minutes, he said.​

​Mr. Stalin also took a swipe at Mr. Panneerselvam by referring to the latter’s speech that though there were attempts to dislodge the AIADMK government after its leader Jayalalithaa died in December 2016, “It was Mr. Panneerselvam who ‘meditated’ at his leader’s mausoleum and voted against this government,” he pointed out.​

​Replying to a query on the government’s decision to declare the Cauvery delta region a Protected Special Agriculture Zone (PSAZ), Mr. Stalin said while his party was for it, he wondered whether the State government had powers to do so.​

​Demanding to make public the contents of the Chief Minister’s letter, which was handed over by Minister D. Jayakumar to the Centre in Delhi over the PSAZ, Mr. Stalin warned: “Or else, I would release the letter.” When asked about the Supreme Court’s verdict in the DMK’s plea to disqualify 11 AIADMK MLAs including Mr Panneerselvam, Mr. Stalin hoped the Speaker would take a good decision. ​