Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Friday presented Vote on Account of Rs 25,292.96 crore for first four months of 2014-15 (April-July), while claiming that the state was on the path of fiscal consolidation.
Blaming the Centre for its discriminatory attitude towards Punjab, the finance minister pitched for more devolution of funds from the Centre to states.
"The Vote on account (for April-July) is based on revised estimates for current fiscal and estimates for 2014-15. We will present full budget for 2014-15 after the general elections to Lok Sabha in light of fresh and people friendly policies of new central government," Dhindsa said during his speech in the state Assembly here.
Noting that the state has "done fairly" despite global slowdown, Dhindsa said that the states expected to achieve growth rate of 5.30 per cent in 2013-14 against the national growth of 4.86 per cent. However, he said the state attained growth rate of 6.8 per cent during 2007-12 as against planning commission estimates of 5.9 per cent.
Admitting that the revenue deficit elimination might take "some more time", Dhindsa said that the revenue deficit stood at Rs 2,515 crore as on December 2013 as compared to Rs 3,970 crore in corresponding period.
"In view of high asset base of state which leads to high maintenance expenditure, low state share in central taxes, historically high level of outstanding debt and high salary expenditure, the elimination of revenue deficit may take some time," he said.
He also compared revenue deficit during SAD-BJP regime and Congress led regime in the state.
The average revenue deficit as percentage of GSDP improved from 2.91 per cent in 2002-07 to 2.47 per cent in 2007-12, he said.
The fiscal deficit up to the month of December 2013 was Rs 4,102 crore as against Rs 5,144 crore in corresponding period of previous year. The budget estimates for 2013-14 projected fiscal deficit of Rs 9,258 crore which is 2.90 per cent of GSDP as against upper limit of 3 per cent fixed by 13th Finance Commission.
"These figures show that the state is firmly on the path of fiscal consolidation," he said.
On the issue of debt to GSDP, Dhindsa said the total outstanding debt of state as on March 31, 2013 was Rs 92,282 crore which is 32.18 per cent of GSDP of state as against upper limit of 41 per cent fixed by 13th finance commission for 2012-13.