Business Standard

Gujarat debts mount to Rs 2.43 lakh crore in 4 years


IANS Gandhinagar
Total public debt of Gujarat has reached Rs. 2.43 lakh crore -- an increase of Rs. 77 crore or 46 per cent -- over the last four years, a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report revealed on Wednesday.
The CAG report was tabled in the assembly on the last day of the Budget session by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the Finance portfolio.
According to the report, the state's debt increased from Rs 1.66 lakh crore in 2012-13 to Rs 2.43 lakh crore in 2016-17.
The Finance Minister, however, said that as almost all the major projects taken up by the government were nearing completion, from now onwards, the state's debt would see a decline soon.
During the last five years, the interest payments increased from Rs 12,161 crore to over Rs 17,797 crore and the state spent a total of Rs 74,536 crore towards payment of interest -- about 16.40 per cent of the revenue receipts, the report said.
While the state paid an average of 7.68 per cent as interest on its borrowings during the period, it earned only 0.21 per cent return on its investment of Rs 77,833 crore in several options as on March 31, 2017.
According to the report, the state's pension liabilities were also higher than the designated provisions under the Fiscal Responsibility Act. It stood at Rs 11,303 crore or 10.29 per cent of the revenue receipts.
Despite the state government's tall claims of spending an increasing sum of money on developmental works, the CAG observes in the report that the state spent less. Against the total provision of Rs 1.60 lakh crore during 2016-17, the state spent only Rs 1.36 lakh crore, with the government claiming a saving of Rs 23,585.67 crore.
Of the 77 working PSUs in the state, 54 earned a profit of Rs 3,647.96 crore but the state received a meagre Rs 110.10 crore by way of dividend, it pointed out. Also, 11 of the 77 PSUs saw their networth erode by Rs 13,277 crore towards the end of March 2017.
The opposition Congress raised the pitch against tabling of the CAG report on the last day of the session, saying that the state government wanted to hide its inadequacies.
"We have been demanding that CAG reports be tabled in the beginning of the session, so that we can discuss any lacunae highlighted by the CAG. It would have also given the state government opportunity to come clean on any insinuations against it," Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said.

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First Published: Mar 28 2018 | 9:40 PM IST

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