PUDUCHERRY: Refuting the claim of Chief Minister N Rangasamy that the Union Territory is not going through any financial crisis and that all the schemes are being implemented without any financial constraints, economist and former Lok Saba member M Ramadass on Monday demanded a white paper on the finances of Puducherry for the last five years.
In a statement here, Ramadass said that the financial crisis is real and is neither imaginary nor rumoured as alleged by the CM. The Lt Governor in a meeting, through teleconference, with the President of India Pranab Mukherjee on January 10th, had acknowledged the serious financial strain in Puducherry and attributed it to the problem of devolution. The often repeated complaint that the Centre is not providing adequate money and hence the demand for statehood is a reflection of the financial crisis of Puducherry, he said.
The plea of the CM at the first meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog on February 9 to provide an interim relief of Rs 600 crore, waive loans and interest and permit the government to sell Pattanur land is in the context of financial crisis, he added.
A comfortable financial position is also possible if the government borrows heavily and resorts to diversion of funds from one accepted head to another, Ramadass said.
The very fact that the CM could not present full fledged budgets successively for five years is a clear evidence of the crisis gripping the government. The inability of the government to spend the approved plan outlay every year and reduction in the plan size itself are other indicators of an uncomfortable financial position. In a normal scenario, the plan outlay should be enhanced year after year but in Puducherry the reverse is true. In 2012-13, the plan size was Rs 3000 crore but in 2015-2016 it is only Rs 2700 crore.
This is the real constraint in the execution of plan schemes and the CM should not be complacent, Ramdass said. “If the Chief Minister is really endowed with sufficient resources, why did the government of Puducherry borrow Rs 100 crore at commercial rate of interest in the capital market through RBI by selling 10 year stocks to the public? Why did the Government draw about Rs 450 crore from the GPF of government employees and from the accumulated fund of public accounts? Why did the government frequently transfer funds from the Special Component Plan to general purposes?,” he asked.