The Himachal Pradesh government’s debt aggregated to Rs.10,752 crore in 2014-15 during which it raised Rs.2,345 crore from the open market at interest rates varying from 8.08 to 9.63 percent, said the CAG.
The state government raised Rs.444 crore from financial institutions and Rs.1,102 crore from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF), the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said in its latest report.
A total of Rs.6,860 crore were obtained from wage and means advances (Rs.4,193 crore from normal ways and means advances and Rs.2,667 crore overdrafts) from the Reserve Bank of India.
Thus, the total internal debt raised by the government during 2014-15 aggregated to Rs.10,752 crore, the auditor observed.
The state government also received Rs.125 crore from the central government as loans and advances.
The state had a revenue deficit of Rs.1,944 crore (Rs.1,641 crore deficit in 2013-14) and a fiscal deficit of Rs.4,200 crore (Rs.4,011 crore deficit in 2013-14) till March 2015, which is two percent and four percent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP), respectively.
The fiscal deficit constituted 18 percent of the total expenditure, the CAG audit report states.
The fiscal deficit was met from net public debt (Rs.2,617 crore), increase in public account (Rs.1,731 crore) and net increase of opening and closing cash balance (Rs.148 crore).
About 84 per cent of the revenue receipts (Rs.17,843 crore) of the state was spent on committed expenditure like salaries (Rs.8,195 crore), interest payments (Rs.2,849 crore), pensions (Rs.2,914 crore), subsidies (Rs.801 crore) and wages (Rs.223 crore), the auditor’s report points out.
Responding to the CAG’s observations, a government spokesperson said the percentage of total liabilities to GSDP, which was 42.48 percent in 2011-12, has declined to 39.96 percent in 2014-15.
The percentage of public debt to the GSDP has also come down from 29.36 percent in 2011-12 to 26.92 percent in 2014-15.
The declining trend in public debt shows that the state is not heading towards a debt trap, the spokesperson told.
He said 2014-15 was a challenging year for the state due to sharp decline in central aid to the state.
The 13th Finance Commission gave lesser grants and in 2014-15 the revenue deficit grant sharply dwindled to Rs.406 crore as against Rs.2,232 crore being provided in the first year (2010-11) of the award period.
Tourism, horticulture and hydro-power generation are major contributors to the state’s economy.
– Courtesy IANS
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.