Tamil Nadu’s spending during 2015-20 has exceeded the overall average of the States in two of 13 key sectors. The two sectors are health and family welfare and housing.
Against the States’ average of 5.3% in health and family welfare, Tamil Nadu’s spending was 5.4% of its budget, including capital outlay and revenue expenditure.
This covered schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, the National Health Mission, and construction and maintenance of hospitals, according to a study carried out by PRS Legislative Research, a New Delhi-based independent and not-for-profit group.
In the area of housing, Tamil Nadu’s tally was 1.6% against the States’ average of 1.3%, which consisted of 0.3 percentage point of the budget on capital outlay, and 1 percentage point of the budget on revenue expenditure.
In social security, Tamil Nadu’s spending equalled the States’ average, which was 4.1%.
As for the remaining 10 sectors where Tamil Nadu lagged others, the State missed the all-India average narrowly in agriculture, education and roads and bridges.
The State’s rate of spending in agriculture was 6.2% against the national average of 6.4%; in education, 15.4% against 15.9%; and in roads and bridges, 4.2% against 4.7%
It was rural development wherein the State’s spending (3.3%) was way behind the others (5.9%).
This was followed by irrigation and flood control, wherein Tamil Nadu’s score was 1.8% against 4%; in energy, 4.6% against 5.7%; and in police, 3.1% against 4.2%. The other three sectors with the figures of Tamil Nadu and the States’ average were: water supply and sanitation-1.2% against 2.3%; welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes-2% against 2.9%; and urban development-2.3% against 3.1%.
However, a senior official of the Tamil Nadu government hints that the State’s “unique position,” in respect of certain subsidy schemes, has not been brought out adequately in the study.
“No other State is making the payout to the extent Tamil Nadu does. This year alone, food subsidy accounts for around ₹11,500 crore and power subsidy ₹9,000 crore. As for old age pension, beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu are getting a higher amount than their counterparts in other States,” the official added.