Himachal state annual plan hits loan cap roadblock

Shimla: What has come as a rude shock for planners here is the curtailing of loan raising for meeting approved annual plan targets, which insiders say would be difficult unless the restrictions are not removed.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal dubs it as political discrimination.

Talking to My Himachal News, the chief minister said, “in order to meet approved plan targets for 2010-11, the planning commission had approved a loaning limit of Rs 1751 crore, but midway while executing the plan, the finance ministry has turned around and capped borrowing at Rs 1566 crore.”

“We have raised the issue at various levels with the finance ministry as well as the planning commission but have not been given a satisfactory response as to why it has been done so. It is sheer political discrimination against a BJP ruled state, he said.

Given the state’s tight financial position, where it has not been able to meet out arrears for raised salary bills after implementing the fifth pay commission recommendations, a shortfall of about Rs 200 crore for the years plan targets has caused further economic stress.

Though the chief minister said that internal resources would be mobilized to meet plan targets, but planning department officials on conditions of anonymity disclosed that unless the shortfall is bridged to meet the Rs 3000 crore plan, hoping for approval of an enhanced plan for 2011-12 would be difficult.

Despite the shortfall, planning advisor SK Shad was optimistic. He said projections indicated that we would exceed current plan targets and expect to close the year with a Rs 3100 crore plan expenditure.

About the 2011-12 plan under formulation, he said that the state delegation was scheduled to meet the planning commission officers on Friday.

After taking stock of state resources, central devolution and projected demand by various government departments, we will be approaching the planning with a proposal of Rs 3500 crore plan for the next financial year, said Shad.

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