The Punjab government had concealed loans worth Rs 4,263 crore that it repaid on behalf of the power corporation in 2015-16.
This was revealed in the report tabled by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in the Vidhan Sabha last week.
“A transaction of Rs 4,263 crore for repayment of loans of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) by the state government under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) was carried out on March 31, 2016, as a cashless transaction through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was not accounted for in the finance accounts of the state government,” the report stated.
“The state government understated the loans,” reiterated the CAG report, adding that the same year the government also repaid Rs 5,597 loans taken by PSPCL, which had been accounted for.
The report pointed out that loans taken by the power corporation had gone up by 36 times as compared to the previous fiscal (2014-15), when these stood at just Rs 270 crore. The repayment of these loans added majorly to the worsening of the state’s fiscal health.
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It was mandatory for PSPCL to repay all loans to become eligible for Uday, under which the Centre releases grants for development of power sector in states.
The CAG report also noted that the closing balance of loans in 2015-16 stood at Rs 8,365 crore, which was three times the amount the previous fiscal. The loans that the state government repaid were taken by stretching the RBI limit.
On whopping loans, the state government could have just paid a negligible interest of Rs 30 crore the same year, which was .36% of the total loans.