Chandigarh, Oct 3 (IANS) Citing financial prudence and optimum utilisation of state resources, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday furnished complete details of every single penny spent by the government in past 18 months to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
In a letter to the Governor, Mann apprised that Rs 27,016 crore has been paid by state as payment of interest whereas Rs 10,208 crore have been utilised as capital expenditure.
He said the state has inherited a lot of debt as 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 2,556 crore for power subsidy arrears (2017-2022), Rs 4,000 crore as sinking fund investment, Rs 1,008 crore as arrears of sugarcane farmers, Rs 1,750 as unpaid central-sponsored schemes and others.
Mann said the government has judiciously spent Rs 48,530 crore for the wellbeing of the people and progress of the state.
The Chief Minister said the government has also made concerted efforts for enhancing the tax collections. Citing the figures, he said the GST collection in the state has witnessed an increase of 16.6 per cent during their tenure, adding that a hike of 37 per cent has been registered in excise collection.
Similarly, Mann said taxes on vehicles have enhanced by 13 per cent and the collection on stamps and registration has witnessed upward collection by 28 per cent.
The Chief Minister thanked Purohit for seeking the information which allows him to put many things in perspective.
He categorically said 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 and loans allowed by the government of India and long-term loan under Special Assistance for Creation of Capital Assets as permitted by the government of India.
Mann said a mammoth amount of Rs 27,016 crore went into interest repayment on the debt which his government inherited.
The Chief Minister said the government used both debt and state’s own revenue resources to fund organisations and schemes ignored by predecessors, utilised the new debt to create capital assets and undertake development activities in the state.
He said the government is committed to honour states rightful liabilities and servicing the debt in a timely manner while striving to mobilise resources to fund development of the state.
Mann said his government is working round the clock to mobilise additional resources for the state.
The Chief Minister said the additional receipts have helped immensely in making value accretive investments while initiating payment of arrears and unpaid dues.
Mann said he was elated to share that the government has invested in the Sinking Fund a total of Rs 4,000 crore since April 1, 2022 while the total accumulation by previous governments just stood at Rs 2,988 crore.
He said this fund is aimed at alleviating some of the debt pressure of the state in the future.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that above information puts into perspective the challenges faced by the state due to legacy debt burden.
He said now the Governor will be in a position to convince the Prime Minister that not only the debt has been properly utilised but all-out efforts are being made to consolidate the state finances.
Mann said all this has been done while providing employment to more than 36,000 youth in the state.
With Punjab's interests in mind, Mann urged the Governor to convince the Prime Minister to not only release the pending Rural Development Fund (RDF) but also accord a moratorium on debt repayment of the state for at least five years.