BJP government pushing Himachal into ‘debt trap’ – Kaul Singh
Shimla: Opposition congress rapped the BJP government for mounting debt saying that having borrowed Rs 4070 crore in two years to bridge budget gaps had increased state debt to Rs 27,000 crore.
Participating in the 2010-11 budget discussion, congress president Kaul Singh Thakur said, rampant borrowing was pushing the state into a debt trap.
“In two years the BJP government has failed to adopt austerity measures or cut wasteful expenditure and has borrowed Rs 4070 crore, which has increased accumulated debt to unsustainable levels at Rs 27,000 crore,” he said.
Of the total proposed budget, 23 percent of it is to come by borrowings and of every hundred rupees spent, Rs 15 goes for interests on loans and Rs 8 for loan repayment, he pointed at the debt trap situation.
Amidst thumping of desks by the opposition, Kaul Singh said “while the state was headed towards a financial disaster, the BJP government was busy buying latest and expensive Toyota cars for its ministers and officers.”
He went onto add that instead of cutting such wasteful expenditure, the government has proposed to raise VAT on items of common use from 4 to 5 percent and hike common mans transport by as much as 30 percent.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal contested the oppositions figures saying that it was because of higher borrowing during previous congress terms that state debt had increased, leading to the current scenario.
Borrowing during past congress governments stint in office was Rs 1707 crore for each year in officer whereas it was Rs 1426 cr annually under BJP governments, Dhumal said while laying the blame at congress door for the poor condition of the state economy.
When the earlier BJP government demitted office in 2003, the total debt stood at Rs 14,020, but when congress demitted office in December 2007, the debt had mounted to Rs 23,455 cr, said Dhumal.
Continuing with the discussion , Kaul Singh held the BJP government responsible for failing to properly represent its case before the 13th Finance Commission, which led to the commission to only recommend 50 percent rise in outlay whereas other states have been able to get more than 100 percent increase, he said.
Wrongly showing loans as resources to the commission has made the commission to reduce the outlay for the state, said the congress leader. This mistake is going to cost the state heavily in the days to come and could lead to it becoming financial bankrupt, he added.
Kaul Singh charged the BJP government with providing 96 bighas of prime land to yoga gugu Swami Ramdev in Solan on 99 years lease at heavily subsidised rates for opening a branch of his Patanjali Yogpeeth. The congressman questioned the motives of the state health minister Rajiv Bindal behind this.
Taking offense to the allegations leveled, Bindal strongly refuted them saying that having a branch of Patanjali Yogpeeth would tremendously benefit the state and encourge growing of medicinal plants. The charges leveled were only showing disrespect to the Yoga Guru, he said.