Loans became 7-fold to fund procurement gap; solution soon, says Punjab FM Manpreet Badal
The loans for 2016-17 also included Rs 10,031 crore disbursed to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for clearing debts in compliance with the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY).punjab Updated: Mar 23, 2018 10:03 IST
The Punjab government took loans of Rs 41,364 crore in the fiscal year 2016-17, which was seven times the loans (Rs 5,968 crore) taken in the year before that (2015-16), primarily due to a Rs 29,920-crore loan from the Centre for settling a gap in the cash credit limit (CCL) granted for grain procurement over the years and the stock value. The Congress had at the time, being in opposition, termed this settling of legacy accounts a scam by the SAD-BJP regime.
The figures came to light in a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General tabled in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday.The math — a monthly instalment of Rs 270 crore for 20 years — riled up the opposition, with AAP MLA Aman Arora saying that the state would end up paying Rs 64,000 crore for this loan.As he demanded that a Vidhan Sabha committee be formed to “reopen” the account, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal replied that the matter has been nearly clinched as the Centre is talking to the state’s officers on the matter. He said the Union government would give a definitive word in about two weeks.
The loans for 2016-17 also included Rs 10,031 crore disbursed to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for clearing debts in compliance with the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The state also made payment of Rs 664.14 crore as principle and Rs 149.75 crore as interest to State Bank of India on account of settlement of legacy cash credit accounts for food procurement.
The total outstanding loan increased from Rs 8,365 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 49,482 crore in 2016-17. During this time, interest burden increased by Rs 1,101 crore (3,670%) in comparison to the preceding year.
If one calculates for a longer period, from 2012-13 to 2016-17 the state’s total public debt increased from Rs 71,211 crore to Rs 1,53,773 crore, that is, by 117%.In 2016-17, public debt increased by Rs 51,184 crore (49.89%) over the previous year. This was due to increase in internal debt by Rs 50,857 crore and Rs 327 crore in loans from the central government.