West Bengal government is going for a fresh market borrowing of Rs. 1,300 crore through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) window on March 10, 2015.
With this fresh borrowing, the total borrowing of the state from the open market through the RBI window as on date during the current financial year of 2014-15 increases to Rs. 21,900 crore. RBI sources confirmed that as on date during the ongoing fiscal West Bengal has borrowed the maximum amount from the open market compared to other Indian states, which it did also during the previous financial year of 2013-14.
Last time the West Bengal government went for market borrowing was on February 24 when it borrowed Rs. 2,500 crore from the open market. According to state finance department sources, obligatory expenditures like payment of salaries, wages and retirement benefited to existing and retired employees of the state government, payment of enhanced dearness allowance and finally making part-payments to the contractors and outsourced agencies, had forced the state government to borrow at such high rates during the last three months of the current financial year.
According to a notification issued by RBI on March 5, altogether 20 Indian states are going for a total borrowing of Rs. 15,610.38 crore on March 10, with Assam being the highest borrowing state in this tranche at Rs. 1,500 crore followed Hariyana at Rs. 1,360 crore and West Bengal at Rs. 1,300 crore.
While Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh are borrowing Rs. 1,200 crore each, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Telengana are borrowing Rs. 1,000 crore each.
The borrowing figure for Chattisgarh stands at Rs. 800 crore followed by Uttarakhand at Rs. 500 crore, Punjab at Rs. 200 crore and Nagaland and Tripura at Rs. 150 crore each. While Arunachal Pradesh is borrowing Rs. 80 crore, the figure for Meghalaya stands at Rs. 60 crore. The lowest borrower in this tranche is Puducherry at Rs. 20.38 crore.
West Bengal finance and excise minister Amit Mitra, while presenting his budget speech for 2015-16 within the West Beng al assembly on February 27, 2015, projected West Bengal’s total accumulated debt to rise to Rs. 2,74,800.12 crore by March 31, 2015. By March 31, 2016, as projected by Mitra, the accumulated debt would further increase to Rs. 2,99,274.12 crore.