Himachal Pradesh is facing serious financial challenge as debt burden has mounted to Rs 25,313.70 crore, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who holds the finance portfolio, said on Tuesday.
Debt burden has increased by Rs 5,140.56 crore over the past four years while it had jumped by more than Rs 8,000 crore during the previous Congress rule, he said.
In written reply in the assembly, Dhumal said the state debt increased from Rs 20,173.14 crore to Rs 25,313.70 crore from January 2008 to January 2012.
He said the loans from the Government of India as on January 2012 stood at Rs 977.11 crore whereas it was Rs 982.54 crore in January 2008. The outstanding guarantees were Rs 3,793.54 crore as on January 2012. It was Rs 2,018.81 crore in the same month in 2008.
During the budget speech, Dhumal blamed the implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations for impacting the finances of all the states, including Himachal.
The erroneous recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission, underestimating the committed liabilities of the state, have further adversely affected the finances of the state. "Had the commission given us an increase equal to that of the other states, the state would have received an additional transfer of Rs 10,725 crore in five years," he said.
"We have urged the Government of India to give us a special financial package of Rs 5,214 crore for two years to mitigate the impact of adverse recommendations of the finance commission," Dhumal said.
The chief minister said despite the financial constraints, the state government had released financial benefits of over Rs 5,400 crore in the past four years to its employees.