Displaying a precedent in helping the debt-inundated Tamil Nadu government to address its financial crisis, a farmer from the Namakkal district has written a cheque for Rs 2.6 lakh to the government. The development has come on Tuesday, a day after Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan has released the 'White paper' on the finances which revealed the state's distressing financial condition with growing debts. The minister said that the financial condition has been depriving in finances unless reforms are pushed into the machinery to revive back and generate more revenue.
Palanivel Thiagarajan has said that the state has total debt of Rs 5.70 lakh crore and if the total debt is shared among the state's public, every family carries a debt of Rs 2.63 lakh. This has further shocked the state as the white paper had revealed the flawed financial administration of the previous regime. The statement had covered the financial position of the state during the ten-year rule of the ADMK. While the statement had stirred a debate over resuscitating the finances, a farmer has decided to pay his portion of the public debt, drawing major attention across the state.
According to reports, 41-year-old Ramesh, a Gandhian farmer native of Bommaikuttaimedu in Namakkal district, had visited the office of the local revenue divisional officer on Tuesday with a cheque for Rs 2,63,876 drawn in favour of the Tamil Nadu Government. With the view of letting the people know of his attempt to pay his portion of the public debt, Ramesh had brought a mega photocopy of the cheque leaf to show to the people. When he presented the cheque to the divisional officer, the RDO didn't accept the cheque and informed Ramesh to provide it to the higher authority, as he was not authorized to collect it.
After hearing this, Ramesh went to the Namakkal district collector's office that found that the collector has gone for inspection. He had left the Collectorate and said to the media that he would return another day as he is serious about this and added that every citizen should come to help the government by paying their share of the public debt. He also said that the government can provide loans of Rs 15 lakh to citizens who pay their debt and citizens can use these loans to start their own small business which in turn would aid the economy to grow. The pictures of Ramesh standing with the photocopied cheque leaf were going viral as several people had lauded him for coming forward to help the state government in addressing the debt.
The White paper, which was released on Monday was the first such statement in twenty years, has concentrated the financial condition during the ADMK regime. The finance minister said that the revenue deficit during the 2011-2016 ADMK rule was at Rs 17,000 crore and the same stood at Rs 1.50 lakh crore during the 2016-2021 regime. The public debt is Rs 2,63,976 per family in Tamil Nadu and the Finance Minister has said that the fiscal deficit of the state has been primarily increasing due to an increase in government borrowing.
He noted that the state had faced an unimaginable rate of revenue deficit in the last five years and Tamil Nadu's financial condition had deprived to a state that the immediate expenses are to be met through acquiring debts. Palanivel Thiagarajan said that Tamil Nadu has faced a severe revenue deficit than any other Indian state in the last five years and as the state's power to repay the debts had decreased, it has been pushed to witness the rise of interest rates. The credibility of the Electricity department in repaying the debts had declined, resulting in the surge in the interest rates.
Tamil Nadu government had faced a loss of Rs 2,577 crore as the sequel of ADMK's failure in conducting timely polls for the local bodies. He further stated that the Union government is yet to release Rs 20,033 crore to Tamil Nadu as the state's dues in GST. Thiagarajan has batted to invoke more taxes on the rich to concentrate on the development projects of the poor and the announcement regarding the same may be issued during his presentation of the revised budget on August 13.