White paper in Himachal Pradesh assembly reveals Rs 92,774 Cr cumulative liability
Shimla, Sept 21
Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri presented a white paper in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, exposing the state’s dire financial situation up to the Financial Year 2022-23. The report highlighted that Himachal Pradesh now ranks among the five most debt-ridden states in India, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Deputy CM said that today every child takes birth with a debt of Rs 1, 02,818 however this burden per capita debt was only Rs 66,000 when Jai Ram Thakur had come in the power.
Agnihotri laid blame on the previous Jairam government for the financial mismanagement that has plagued the state. He emphasized that this white paper marked the first such report in 25 years, shedding light on a silently deteriorating financial landscape.
According to RBI figures, Himachal Pradesh finds itself in the unenviable position of being one of the top five states with the highest debt burden. The state also falls into the category of both large and small states that have taken on the maximum loans. Agnihotri squarely placed responsibility on the previous BJP government, citing their significant borrowing of Rs 12,912 Crore in the election year of 2022-23. ” As per data of net debt increased during the years 2018-19 to 2022-23 it was seen that net debt increase in financial year 2022 23 is Rs.12912 crore, which is the highest in a financial year, in the history of the State.
Moreover, he criticized the lack of efforts over the last five years to balance the state’s financial management.
The Deputy Chief Minister disclosed that the state government now faces cumulative liabilities exceeding Rs 92,774 Crore. Despite announcing dearness allowances and recommendations from the pay commission, the funds for these commitments remain undispersed. “Present Government inherited total direct liabilities of Rs.92,774 crore from the previous Government. These liabilities consist of debt liabilities of Rs.76,630 crore, other outstanding liabilities of Rs.5,544 crore on account of deposits and reserves of various departments accrued in Public Account and un-paid liabilities of around Rs.10,600 crore on account of pay revision and Dearness Allowance till December, 2022,” stated the white paper.
Agnihotri argued that reckless borrowing and poor financial management have pushed Himachal Pradesh into a precarious financial position. The budget estimates for 2023 and 2024 indicate that the state must allocate Rs 9,048 Crore for loan repayments and interest.
Comparing the BJP government’s tenure, Agnihotri noted that they inherited a loan liability of Rs 47,906 Crore in 2017-18 and proceeded to take on an additional Rs 28,784 Crore, with an average annual increase of 12 percent. “Debt liability at the end of fiscal year 2017-18 was Rs.47906 crore which increased by Rs.28724 crore with an average increase at a rate of 12% per annum during the fiscal years 2018-19 to 2022-23 and reached at the level of Rs.76630 crore at the end of 2022-23,” they stated.
The per capita debt burden has consequently risen from Rs 66,000 to an alarming Rs 1,02,818 during their rule. Deputy CM said that today every child takes birth with a debt of Rs 1, 02,818 however this burden per capita debt was only Rs 66,000 when Jai Ram Thakur had come in the power.
Furthermore, Agnihotri revealed the poor financial state of public sector undertakings, with 13 out of 23 PSUs operating at a loss, accumulating a total loss of Rs 5,000 Crore.
He compared the BJP’s 8 percent hike from the 15th Finance Commission to the previous Congress government’s gain of Rs 232 percent. ” RDG is a very important Revenue source for Hill States like Himachal Pradesh, stated the paper. Adding,” The Central Government releases Revenue Deficit Grant to the State Government on the recommendation of Finance commission. .. It may be seen that, each year, this assistance from Government of India is getting reduced. During financial year 2023-24, Himachal Pradesh will get Rs.1319 Cr less compared to the amount received in 2022-23,” it claimed.
” If it is compared to financial year 2020-21, the interim award year of 15th Finance Commission, the State Government will get Rs.3373 Cr. less in 2023-24. Coming years of 15th FC award period are more crucial as the amount of RDG will be reduced to Rs.6258 Cr in 2024-25 and Rs.3257 Cr in 2025-26,” informed the figures in the paper.
One of the most significant allegations against the BJP rule was their extravagant spending on various celebrations, which, coupled with their failure to present the state’s case effectively before the Fifteenth Finance Commission, left the state ensnared in a debt trap.
Agnihotri also accused the previous government of misusing state funds for organizing election rallies and programs, which resulted in a loss of Rs 2057 Crore in GST revenue. He claimed that the Centre had refused to release the state government’s share for announcing the Old Pension Scheme after Congress came to power.
The presentation of the white paper in the assembly led to a ruckus, with opposition members protesting and walking up to the well. Agnihotri asserted that their shout was an attempt to drown out the revelations of their misdeeds. He emphasized that the state government had fulfilled its promise to present a white paper, bringing to light the grim financial reality facing Himachal Pradesh.
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