BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Wednesday said the loan burden of the State is well within the prescribed limit of the Centre and Orissa Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2005.
Dismissing the Opposition’s allegation that the State has fallen into a debt trap and the Government has not initiated any drive to augment revenue collection, Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat said Odisha is better placed compared to many other States as far as debt-Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) ratio is concerned.
Replying to a debate on admissibility of an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition Congress, the Finance Minister said the loan burden of the State as per 2013-14 budget estimate was `43,540 crore. This is far less compared to the debt stocks of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
The debt-GSDP ratio of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal is 20.64 per cent and 31.33 per cent as against 14.88 per cent of Odisha during the same period. States like Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have more debt burden than Odisha, he said.
Asserting that the State Government has been able to bring down the revenue deficit, contain fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of the estimated GSDP as stipulated in the FRBM Act and reduce the debt-GSDP ratio as prescribed by the Finance Commission, Amat said the loan burden of the State and per capita debt are on the decline due to prudent fiscal management.
The net borrowing of the State has been estimated at ` 8,640.22 crore for 2014-15, representing only 2.65 per cent of the GSDP. The debt stock at the end of 2014-15 is estimated at `50,986.83 crore.
Claiming that the debt burden of the State is at a reasonable level, the Minister argued in favour of more credit for capital expenditure. All the future loans of the Government are project-linked and for infrastructure development.
Stating that the Government has not borrowed from open market since 2006-07, the Finance Minister said the State has got loan relief of `1,909.50 crore from the Centre due to compliance of the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC) recommendations.
Initiating the debate, Tara Prasad Bahinipati of the Congress slammed the Government for its failure to realise huge amount of revenue from different sources, including industries.
Bahinipati and his party member Bhujabal Majhi alleged that huge amount of tax is pending unrealised against industries.
Ruling party member and former minister Bedprakash Agarwal countered the Opposition’s allegation and blamed the Centre for the present debt condition of the State.
“If the royalty on major minerals is timely revised by the Centre, the State could have been in a position to lend credit to financial distressed States,” he remarked.