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Posted at: Jun 20, 2017, 2:16 AM; last updated: Jun 20, 2017, 2:16 AM (IST)

SAD-BJP left state in fiscal mess, claims White Paper

SAD-BJP left state in fiscal mess, claims White Paper
Newly-elected Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti takes blessings from CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19

The White Paper on the state’s fiscal condition tabled by the Punjab Government in the Assembly today states that the state is left with no money for development.

It says against every Rs 100 earned, the expenditure is Rs 102, if all committed liabilities, including salaries, pension, interest on debt, power subsidy, are taken into account.

The additional Rs 2 is raised by borrowings or by selling government property. Most alarming is the decline in capital expenditure.

Against 92.18 per cent revenue expenditure the capital expenditure was just 7.82 per cent during 2016-17, which shows meagre spending on development.

The state’s growth rate has been well below the national average since 2007-08 except in 2013-14. Punjab is far behind states like Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP and Tamil Nadu. In fact, it is one of the slowest growing states in the country.

The outstanding debt has risen to Rs 2,08,060.96 crore. The interest payment consumes a significant part of the revenue. The paper says the state has an unpaid liability of Rs 13,039 crore.

Finance Minister Manpreet Badal claimed that Rs 1,747 crore worth of atta-dal was not given to beneficiaries, Rs 2,773 crore was not paid to the employees as dearness allowance, Rs 728 crore subsidy on power was pending and Rs 7,791 crore worth of bills were outstanding with the treasury.

He accused the previous regime of indulging in smart accounting wherein the integrity of the Budgets in the last 10 years had become questionable.

He announced that a special audit would be done to find out if loans raised by the government were in accordance with the norms. He termed the selling of government resources as an abuse of the system.

Further accusing the previous government, Manpreet said the revenue generated by various levies was deposited in a separate corpus fund, instead of depositing the same in the Consolidated Fund of the state. The White Paper states corpus fund was spent without sanction of the Vidhan Sabha or auditing by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG). It says the decisions were unplanned, scattered and against the constitution of these entities.


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