Akalis mortgaged Punjab’s revenues, pledged properties to raise loans, says Amarinder govt in white paper
Presenting a white paper on the state’s finances on the eve of the budget, finance minister Manpreet Badal cited this “disturbing feature of fiscal management”.punjab Updated: Jun 21, 2017 18:07 IST
The Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab has accused the Akali-BJP government of abusing government entities to raise loans during its 10-year rule.
Presenting a white paper on the state’s finances on the eve of the budget, finance minister Manpreet Badal cited this “disturbing feature of fiscal management”.
The paper highlighted the Akali-BJP regime’s penchant for abusing government entities — such as Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB), Rural Development Board (RDB) and Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) — to indiscriminately raise loans by mortgaging their future revenues or by hypothecating immovable properties at their disposal.
The three undertakings raised loans of Rs 12,643 crore.
A part of this debt also flowed into the state treasury as “informal debt”, which stands at Rs 4,435 crore.
“Raising loans in this manner is nothing short of selling the family silver to run your kitchen. They provided a handy window to fund the populist programmes of the then ruling dispensation,” the white paper said.
The loans were raised as an off-budget exercise and totally escaped due scrutiny, legislative approval and audit by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG).
The Amarinder government has hinted at carrying out a special audit to ascertain whether the loans were properly accounted for and used in accordance with their statutory mandate.