Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Meager resources, mighty tricks: Sukhu Govt’s illusionary feats!

Shimla, June 17

The Himachal Pradesh Congress government, led by Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has come under scrutiny for its handling of state resources. The opposition BJP is expected to criticize the government for its lack of a constructive agenda. Many citizens well acquainted with knowledge financial management feel that the Sukhu government has burdened the state by creating an unnecessary top-heavy governance structure, while public interest issues remain unquestioned.

Economic experts have pointed out that the Congress government has failed to disburse salaries to 15,000 employees of boards and corporations in the state. Despite overdrafting by Rs 1000 crore in the first quarter of this financial year, the government has been unable to meet its financial obligations. With a daily requirement of Rs 155 crore for salary disbursement and other liabilities, the state’s daily revenue receipt of around Rs 145 crore indicates a monthly loss of over Rs 300 crore. The government has failed to explain the reasons for this shortfall and whether the designated funds for state liabilities are falling short or if the estimated increase in additional resources is insufficient.

It is evident that the Sukhu government is spending beyond its means, appointing extra constitutional authorities and political functionaries who are given access to state resources recklessly. The government’s indecisiveness and wasteful spending are evident in its contradictory actions. For instance, despite increasing charges at the Himachal Pradesh Sadan and Bhawan to Rs 1200 per day, six officers, including advisors and personal staff of the CM, were posted in Delhi. Such actions highlight the economic mess the debt-ridden Himachal Pradesh government finds itself in.

Among the six officers posted by the Himachal Pradesh government in Delhi are Sushil Kumar Singla (IFS 94), Principal Resident Commissioner at Himachal Sadan, New Delhi, Meera Mohanty (IAS 2005), Resident Commissioner at Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi, Nandita Gupta (IAS 2001), Advisor (Coordination) to the Government of Himachal Pradesh at Himachal Sadan, New Delhi. Additionally, there is Kuldeep Singh Banshtu, Officer-on-Special Duty (OSD) to CM Himachal Pradesh at Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi, Gurinder Singh Guleria, Officer Coordination (personal staff of CM) posted at Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi, and Rammi Jhigan, Officer Coordination (Personal Staff of CM) also posted at Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi. This excessive bureaucracy only adds to the burden on the state’s resources.

Here it is noteworthy that the state government inherited a debt of Rs 75,000 crore from the previous government and has taken additional loans amounting to Rs 9,000 crore. Despite the government’s outcry against reducing the borrowing limit from Rs 14,500 crore to Rs 9,000 crore, it continues to rely heavily on borrowing. This irresponsible approach to borrowing raises concerns about the government’s net borrowing if it continues at this rate for 5 years. Also read: Centre reduces Himachal Pradesh’s Borrowing limit by Rs 5,000 Crore

It is crucial for the government to recognize the economic mismanagement it is engaged in and exercise greater control over bureaucratic spending. The state should focus on productive expenditure and prioritize high-value assets that contribute to the state’s GDP. Relying on solutions such as increasing income through cannabis legalization, utilizing salvaged trees, or selling tourism property will not address the serious economic emergency created by the government, now. The flight of industries and hydropower projects, despite receiving incentives, and the financial burdens imposed on the state in the form of litigation and upfront premiums with high interest rates are further deteriorating the state’s economy.

Clearly this is the reason that the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government in Himachal Pradesh has been accused of mismanaging state resources and burdening the state with unnecessary expenses. It is imperative for the government to curtail unnecessary spending, exercise fiscal discipline, and focus on high-value assets to promote economic growth. Evaluating the productivity of government officials and employees in relation to the resources allocated to them will be crucial in ensuring responsible governance and increasing the state’s GDP.


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