HYDERABAD: “Every child born in the State has a debt burden of `41,000 on her head,” Opposition parties said in the Assembly on Tuesday, kicking off a heated debate on the government’s financial situation. The government, for its part, maintained that loans are not taken based on ‘whims and fancies’ but to fund welfare programmes. The issue came up for discussion during the Question Hour on Tuesday. During the intervening discussion, Opposition leader K Jana Reddy said the state’s debts are increasing at an alarming rate. “Debts in the last three years have doubled. By March next year, total burden would reach `2.20 lakh crore from present `1.35 lakh crore,” he claimed, adding government was borrowing based on ‘whims and fancies’.
Congress member T Jeevan Reddy added that as per national average, growth in debt should be about 35 percent. “However, in Telangana, it’s a whopping 71 per cent. As a result, debt burden on every individual, including newborns, has increased to `41,000,” he said. Congress’ Vamshichand Reddy added that last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General had found fault with the state finances and claimed the government had given guarantee to various departments to the tune of `32,000 crore.
“The State has become a role model in taking debts,” charged BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy. He questioned how the state was planning to repay the debts.
Replying to the Opposition, Finance minister E Rajender said the state government’s total debts were `1,35,554.03 crore and the amount of interest burden on the state exchequer in 2016-17 financial year was `8,609.19 crore. The quantum of loans taken by the state government from the Centre and other financial institutions till now was `22,485.06 crore. “In 2014, the debts were around `69,000 crore. After TRS came to power, it borrowed `66,000 crore, totalling `135 lakh crore,” he said.
He clarified that loans are being taken for implementing major projects. He added that loans or debts cannot be obtained according to whims and fancies and are bound within the limits of Central Government.
Assembly passes three bills to replace ordinances
The state legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed three bills, which will replace the ordinances promulgated earlier. The Telangana Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill 10 of 2017 was moved by deputy CM K Srihari on behalf of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Another bill, the Telangana Value Added Tax (Second Amendment) Bill 11 of 2017 was to include draught beer in the category of VAT.
Excise minister T Padma Rao Goud moved the Telangana Excise (Amendment) Bill 16 of 2017 to change the nomenclature of ‘excise superintendent’ as ‘district excise and prohibition officer’.