Uttarakhand needs to repay Rs 45,000-crore in loans. State’s budget is Rs 45,585 crore
The second budget of the Trivendra Singh Rawat government has proposed earnings of Rs 35,660 crore from revenue receipts. The budget allocation for the next fiscal is 14.08% more than previous fiscal’sdehradun Updated: Mar 22, 2018 22:15 IST
The Rs 45,585-crore Budget 2018-19 presented by Uttarakhand finance minister Prakash Pant Thursday is nearly equal to the amount that the mountain state has to repay to various agencies against loans it availed over last 16 years.
The hill state needs to repay Rs 45,000 crore — only Rs 585 crore less than the budget. The burden is likely to increase considering the fact that the budget proposes a deficit of Rs 9,925 crore. The second budget of the Trivendra Singh Rawat government has proposed earnings of Rs 35,660 crore from revenue receipts. The budget allocation for the next fiscal is 14.08% more than previous fiscal’s.
A closer look reveals the mess that state’s finances are in. The hill state is spending much more than it is earning.
Sample this: In the current fiscal, the fund-starved state had to take a loan of Rs 5700 crore to pay salaries, pension, and for other related expenditure.
Prior to this, the previous Congress government had availed Rs 23,000 crore in loans during its five year term from 2012 to 2017. The BJP government that ruled state from 2007 to 2012 had taken loans worth Rs 10,500 crore. The first government, of Congress, elected in 2002, two years after Uttarakhand was created, had borrowed Rs 6500 crore.
Former chief secretary Indu Kumar Pandey, who is also an expert on financial matters, said it was a matter of concern that sources of revenue in Uttarakhand were drying up. “The 14th finance commission has limited the provision of assistance to special category states like ours. Due to this state is losing Rs 2000 crore annually,” Pandey said.
Moreover, the state could have capitalized on the hydro-power but most of the projects are stuck in legal and environmental net. Tourism sector has a huge revenue potential provided the government departments work in a focussed way and in sync with each other.
“The government will have to look for private investment in tourism. Moreover tough initiatives need to be taken to cut down non-plan expenditure,” Pandey said.
The former chief secretary, who submitted a report to the government earlier this year on administrative house-keeping, said the state government will have to cut down the workforce in the years to come else it would become very tough for the future governments to manage the finances.
A retired finance officer, TN Singh, said that financial scene worsened after 2004 when some new but “unnecessary” departments were established.
According to the budget plan, 56.36% of the money will be spent on paying salaries, pension, and other administrative expenditures.