Punjab Govt borrowings hit a new high; over Rs 11,000 crore in six months : The Tribune India

Punjab Govt borrowings hit a new high; over Rs 11,000 crore in six months

68% spent on payment of interest for state’s cumulative debt

Punjab Govt borrowings hit a new high; over Rs 11,000 crore in six months

Representational photo.

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, October 27

The Aam Aadmi Party-led state government has borrowed an amount of Rs 11,464 crore in the first six months of its rule. This is nearly 48 per cent of its targeted borrowings for the ongoing fiscal.

Of the total amount borrowed, nearly 68 per cent (Rs 7,803.51 crore) has been spent only on the payment of interest for the state’s cumulative debt of Rs 2.84 lakh crore. It is significant as it shows the trend that will prevail this year, with a majority of borrowings being done to repay the loans. Last year, the state had borrowed Rs 9,779.76 crore in the same period.

The fiscal indicators for the period between April and September, released by the Comptroller and Auditor General today, reveal that the revenue receipts or income in the six months is just 41.81 per cent (Rs 39,881.21 crore) of the target for this financial year. On the other hand, the revenue expenditure is 45 per cent (Rs 48,584.53 crore) of the targeted expenditure this year.

Compared to the first six months last year, when the previous Congress government was in power, the revenue receipts have shown a significant improvement, but the expenditure, too, is significantly higher than during the corresponding period last year. Between April and September 2021, the then state government had earned Rs 32,332.36 crore and spent Rs 38,032.31 crore. As a result, the revenue deficit, so far, this year is much higher at Rs 8,703.32 crore as compared to Rs 5,699.95 crore in 2021.

This year, according to the unaudited provisional figures released by the CAG, the state has earned much higher revenue in excise (up by Rs 1,120.64 crore in the same period in 2021); GST (up by Rs 1,318.85 crore) and in its non-tax revenue collections (up by Rs 712. 28 crore). The revenue earned from sales tax has declined by Rs 739 crore and earning from stamp duty collection and registration of property has declined by Rs 337.34 crore, showing that the real estate sector is passing through a slump.

Official sources in the Finance Department, when asked about the higher borrowings this year and the fall in revenue from sales tax and stamp duty collections, told The Tribune that the borrowings were within the limits set for the state, and most of these were going for repayment of loans taken in the past.

“Our expenditure is higher because we are creating a huge corpus in the sinking fund, which is an asset that can be monetised whenever needed. The stamp duty collections and sales tax revenue is expected to increase in the coming months,” said sources.

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