The market borrowing by West Bengal in the 11 months of the current fiscal rose by four per cent at Rs 49,000 crore amid the COVID-19 pandemic, latest available data showed.
The latest RBI data collated by Care Ratings shows that 28 states and two union territories collectively borrowed Rs 7.12 lakh crore so far in the current financial year, which is over 30 per cent higher than what these states and union territories borrowed last year.
The West Bengal Finance department officials claimed that borrowings rose by only four per cent because of better financial management in difficult times by prioritising expenses and improvement in revenue with gradual unlocking.
Some states like Madhya Pradesh borrowed higher by 112 per cent, Jharkhand by 113 per cent and Sikkim 108 per cent.
Other states which reported jump in market borrowings are Rajasthan (57 per cent), Maharashtra (54 per cent), Karnataka (43 per cent), Tamil Nadu (37 per cent), Telangana (36 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (28 per cent).
However, five states borrowed less than last year. These include Odisha (by 45 per cent), Tripura (by 27 per cent), Manipur (15 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (14 per cent less) and Gujarat (6 per cent less).
The states mostly borrow RBI managed State Development Loans (SDL) which are debt issues by the state governments to fund their fiscal deficit.
West Bengal in November last year agreed with the Rs 1.1 lakh crore borrowing "option" offered by the Centre to meet the shortfall in goods and services tax (GST) compensation, but has asked the Centre to borrow the remaining shortfall of Rs 72,000 crore till January 2021, as well.