Ludhiana: Union Minister Manish Tewari on Thursday alleged that the Akali-BJP government has pushed Punjab into a debt trap, and ridiculed the state government for describing it as a "productive debt".
"It is a cause of serious concern as the state is dangerously heading towards bankruptcy," the Congress leader said while addressing public meetings here in support of party candidates contesting the forthcoming block Samiti and Zila Parishad elections.
"The state debt according to its own Finance Minister was likely to cross Rs one lakh crore by the end of this financial year and it is continuously increasing at an alarming rate."
"May I ask the Punjab government what is productive about this debt? The only productive thing about this debt is that it is multiplying every year and taking Punjab closer to bankruptcy," Tewari, who represents Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, said.
"The results of this financial mess are obvious as there is no development worth its name on ground level. Any development that is showing up is carried out on the grants given by the Government of India under various flagship programmes," he said.
Every year, the SAD-BJP government was borrowing over Rs 13,000 crore, out of which Rs 11,500 crore was being spent on debt servicing, Tewari said.
"It is a unique case where the state is borrowing money to pay the debt and interest and not for any development works," he said.
Of about Rs 13,000 crore borrowed every year, Rs 7,600 crore was paid as interest, while Rs 4,000 crore was used to repay the borrowed amount, he said.
Referring to the 2013 state budget figures, he said, the fiscal debt till March 31, 2013 was Rs 86,453 crore and it was to go to Rs 95,670 crore by next fiscal.
"Given the rate at which the state is borrowing, by the end of the term of this government, the total debt will cross Rs one lakh fifty thousand crores which will be impossible to be paid by any government," he said.
Tewari addressed 14 meetings today spread over the Gill assembly segment here on the second day of his campaign for the polls.