The much talked about white paper by the Captain Amarinder Singh government is set to disclose startling numbers on Punjab’s debt. The previous Shiroman Akali Dal-BJP government had shown its debt at Rs 1.35 lakh crore. But according to the draft of the white paper, Punjab’s debt actually stands at Rs 2.35 lakh crore. In fact, it is likely to exceed Rs 2.5 lakh crore by next year.
The reason is the term loan of Rs 31,000 crore that government took after the news broke about the missing foodgrain scam and the private and nationalised banks approached the RBI expressing inability to offer any amount to Punjab for wheat and paddy procurement. The draft says that the monthly payment of Rs 270 crore at 8.25 % interest is an additional burden on Punjab.
According to the draft, the previous government surprisingly never showed an informal debt of Rs 4,435 crore in the account books.This amount was taken from five state agencies. They are Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB), Pungrain, Punjab Housing Federation, Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) and PUNSUP. A portion of this debt was being used to pay EMIs every three months for a loan of Rs 810 crore.
“The state government was paying no interest to these agencies on these informal debts,“ says the draft note.
It further states that SAD government left a liability of Rs 14,249 crore. This includes running the signature attadal scheme since its launch on August 15, 2007, without spending a single penny. The white paper by the Captain Amarinder Singh led Congressgovernment is set to disclose startling numbers on Punjab’s debt liability, much higher than earlier thought of.
“To implement atta-dal scheme, under which wheat and pulses are being supplied on subsidised rates of Rs 2kg and Rs 30 kg, no financial assistance was ever provided by Punjab government. In fact, to meet expenditure, funds worth Rs 1,747 crore were arranged by procurement agencies (Punsup, Markfed, PSWC, PAFC) at their own level,“ it says.
These funds were generated by diverting funds from limits provided for procurement of wheat and paddy for central pool, the note points out.
While the Shiromani Akali Dal government exceeded their allowed limit of ways and means advance (WMA) fixed by the Reserve Bank of India at Rs 925 crore on an average 120 days, often crossing Rs 1,850 crore every month.
Many government employees had to wait for more than 2-3 weeks every month for getting salaries, the note says.
Families in the state with annual income less than Rs 60,000 and land less than 2.5 acres as well as 100yard plot holders in urban areas are eligible to get blue cards and avail benefits of the scheme.
27 Jan 2021
28 Jan 2021