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A budget that butted into deficit

Chennai is becoming big; its budget and deficits become bigger. The Chennai Corporation Mayor, Saidai Duraisamy presented the annual budget that estimated the deficits to skyrocket from just Rs 1.2 crore last year to Rs 104.21 crore this year.

So wondering about what happened to the pedestrian zones, cycle lane, parks, rain water harvesting and several solar energy projects?  It is just one among the more than half of the 132 projects announced last year that still stand incomplete!

With elections ahead, the government has not revised property taxes and this has taken a toll on the revenues of the local body. With an estimated revenue of Rs 5019 crore, the Corporation borrows from several agencies: Rs 50 crore from TUFIDCO, Rs 350 crore from TUFIDCO-MIDF, Rs 100 crore from TNUDF-KfW, Rs 100 crore from HUDCO, Rs 250 crore from the World Bank, Rs 250 crore from ICICI Bank and Rs 300 crore from Indian Bank. This has shot up the loan component to Rs 1020 crore from Rs 546 crore last year. Coupled with this is the interest to be paid on loans of Rs 138.15 crore. This budget has seen a cut in capital expenditure.

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