Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 19:
The BJD government in Odisha, which never tires of accusing the then Congress government of creating a financial mess by putting a huge loan burden on the people of the state, is heading for even a more alarming situation, sources said..
Going by the statistics in the 2014-15 annual budget presented in the State Assembly on June 17, the total loan amount of the state government is likely to cross Rs 50,000 crore by the end of the current fiscal.
It is also projected that the state government would incur a loan of Rs 12,700 crore in 2015-16 fiscal and Rs 14,200 crore in 2016-17 fiscal that would take the total loan amount to a whopping Rs 78,000 crore.
“Odisha’s loan burden has gone up over the years. It has touched Rs 37,570 crore, which was Rs 18,100 crore in 1999-2000. Even though the state will have no problem at present since the revenue generation has increased manifold, it will face problems in coming years, if the financial system is not modified,” said former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo.
He advised the government to use the borrowed fund in a productive way in order to get better results and to help timely repayment of the loans.
He, however, said this was not happening in the state , resulting in the escalation of the loan burden.
The state government had regulated the loan scene to a considerable extent to tide over financial mismanagement over the last decade, but things are very different now- thanks to its overdependence on populism to win elections.
Even though Odisha’s loan burden saw a marginal fall by the end of 2013-14 to Rs 37,570.89 crore from Rs 37,980.13 crore a year ago, the government would face a huge loan burden in the coming years. The state’s overall debt fell to Rs 38,589.37 crore in 2011-12 and further to Rs 37,980.13 crore by the end of 2012-13.
As per the estimate, the total loan amount would touch Rs 50,986.83 crore after the government incurs a loan of Rs 11,695.72 crore in the current fiscal.
As per the annual state budget, the state government would incur a loan of Rs 11,695.72 crore during 2014-15 fiscal of which the net loan amount will be Rs 8,640.22 crore. Besides, the government will also incur loan of Rs 6,089 crore from the open market, Rs 1000 crore from the Government Provident Fund (GPF) and Rs 300 crore from small savings deposit.
This would be the highest ever loan by the government in the last 13 years.