THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state’s total debt burden has seen an increase of 70.21 per cent in the five years from 2014-15 to 2018-19. If the total burden of debts and interest on the state was `1,41,947 crore in 2014-15, it shot up to `2,41,615 crore in 2018-19, said the CAG report tabled in the assembly on Monday. The per capita debt has also seen an increase from `42,499 in 2014-15 to `66,561 in 2018-19.
The CAG report also said the state didn’t achieve any of the fiscal targets set in the medium-term fiscal plan or Kerala Fiscal Responsibility Act during 2018-19. As per the recommendations of the 14th finance commission, fiscal deficit must be kept at 3 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), while it was 3.4 per cent during 2018-19. However, the deficit improved from 3.6 per cent in 2014-15 to 3.4 per cent in 2018-19, it noted.
The state’s own tax collection, being the main source in revenue receipts, decreased from 61 per cent in 2014-15 to 55 per cent in 2018-19. The receipt under the state lottery was the main source of non-tax revenue and constituted 74-81 per cent of the non-tax revenue, the report said.
The average return on the investment it made was 1.4 per cent in the last five years, while the government paid an average interest of 7.29 per cent on its borrowings during the same period. The government needs to balance the revenue and fiscal deficit to achieve the targets fixed in the Kerala Fiscal Responsibility Act and by the 14th finance commission. It also needs to address the decreasing tax revenue along with improving its capital expenditure.