CM CITES FINANCIAL PRUDENCE AND OPTIMUM UTILISATION OF STATE RESOURCES TO FURNISH DETAILS SOUGHT BY GOVERNOR
PROFUSELY THANKS GOVERNOR FOR SEEKING THE INFORMATION WHICH ALLOWS HIM TO PUT MANY THINGS IN RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
URGES PUROHIT TO IMPRESS UPON PM TO NOT ONLY RELEASE THE PENDING RDF BUT ALSO ACCORD A MORATORIUM ON DEBT REPAYMENT OF THE STATE FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS
CHANDIGARH, OCTOBER 3-
Citing financial prudence and optimum utilization of state resources, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Tuesday furnished the complete details of every single penny spent by the state government in last 18 months to the Governor Banwari Lal Purohit.
In a letter to the Governor, Bhagwant Singh Mann apprised that Rs 27016 crore has been paid by state government as payment of interest whereas Rs 10208 crore have been utilized as capital expenditure. He said that the state has inherited a lot of debt as a part of which Rs 350 crore have been spent for bailing out PUNSUP, Rs 798 crore for bailing out PSCADB, Rs 845 crore to bail out RDF, Rs 2556 crore for Power Subsidy arrears (2017-2022), Rs 4000 crore as sinking fund investment, Rs 1008 crore as arrears of sugarcane farmers, Rs 1750 as unpaid central sponsored schemes and others. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the state government has judiciously spent Rs 48,530 crore for the well being of the people and progress of state.
The Chief Minister said that state government has also made concerted efforts for enhancing the tax collections in Punjab. Citing the figures, he said that GST collection in state has witnessed an increase of 16.6% during their tenure adding that a hike of 37% has been registered in Excise collection. Similarly, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that taxes on vehicles have enhanced by 13% and the collection on stamps and registration has witnessed upward collection by 28%.
The Chief Minister profusely thanked Banwari Lal Purohit for seeking the information which allows him to put many things in perspective. He categorically said that from April 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023, the net addition to the State's debt has been Rs. 47,107.6 Crore, which includes not only market loans but also loans from NABARD, Externally Aided Project, loans allowed by the Government of India and long-term loan under Special Assistance for Creation of Capital Assets as permitted by Government of India. Bhagwant Singh Mann bemoaned that a mammoth amount of Rs. 27,016 Crore went into interest repayment on the debt which his government inherited.
The Chief Minister said that the state government used both debt and state’s Own revenue resources to fund organisations/schemes ignored by predecessors, utilized the new debt to create capital assets and undertake development activities in the State. He said that the state government is committed to honour States rightful liabilities and servicing the debt in a timely manner while striving to mobilize resources to fund development of the State. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that his Government is working 24 by 7 to mobilise additional resources for the State.
The Chief Minister said that the additional receipts have helped immensely in making value accretive investments while initiating payment of arrears and unpaid dues. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that he was elated to share that Government has invested in the Sinking Fund a total of Rs. 4,000 Crore since 1" April, 2022 while total accumulation by previous governments just stood at Rs 2,988 Crore. He said that this fund is aimed at alleviating some of the debt pressure of the State in future.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that above information puts into perspective the challenges faced by state Government due to legacy debt burden. He said that now the Governor will be in a position to convince the Hon'ble Prime Minister that not only the debt has been properly utilized but all-out efforts are being made to consolidate the State finances. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that all this has been done while providing employment to more than 36,000 youth in the State.
With Punjab's interests in mind, Bhagwant Singh Mann urge the Governor to convince Hon'ble Prime Minister to not only release the pending RDF but also accord a moratorium on debt repayment of the State for at least 5 years. This will provide much needed relief to the strained financial position of the State and would give some fiscal elbow room to the state government, he added.