HYDERABAD: If the Centre concedes to the demand of the State government to increase the borrowing limit up to five per cent under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, then Telangana can raise loans up to Rs 59,800 crore in the current fiscal.During the Goods and Services Tax (GST) meeting held on Friday, Finance Minister T Harish Rao had wanted the Centre to increase the FRBM limit like it had done in the previous year. In the wake of slump in revenues and increase in expenditure due to the Covid-induced lockdown, the State requires funds to manage the administration and provide better healthcare facilities to the public, he had said.
If the borrowing capacity was increased to five per cent, then the State can raise loans up to Rs 59,800 crore. In the 2021-22 Budget, the State government had proposed to raise Rs 49,300 crore as loan at four per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) under the FRBM Act. “The Fifteenth Finance Commission had permitted us to take loans up to four per cent of the GSDP. We have requested the Centre for an extra one per cent,” sources in the Finance Department told Express.
It may be mentioned here the State had taken Rs 5,000-crore State Development Loan in the first two months of the current fiscal. The State has proposed to take another Rs 1,000 crore on June 1. In 2020-21, the budgeted borrowing was Rs 33,191.26 crore, but the State had borrowed Rs 45,638.79 crore.“Managing finances is a challenging task. It is even more challenging during a pandemic,” remarked a source in the Finance Department.
Harish in Group of Ministers
Finance Minister T Harish Rao was included in the Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted on Saturday as per the GST meeting held the previous day. The GoM will examine issues of GST concessions/exemptions to Covid-19 relief material like vaccines, drugs, medicines, testing kits, medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, ventilators, PPE kits, N95 masks, surgical masks, temperature checking equipment and others. The GoM will submit its report by June 8 to the GST Council. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma is the convenor of the Group. The members are: Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitinbhai Patel, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao and Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna