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Punjab to seek debt relief when NDA comes to power: Punjab FM

Last Updated: Friday, March 7, 2014 - 19:05

Chandigarh: Confident that the BJP-led NDA would come to power, Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa today said the state government will seek relief from the "burgeoning" debt which is expected to cross Rs 1 lakh crore in current fiscal, after the Lok Sabha elections.

"We expect a very big relief when NDA comes to power (at the Centre after Lok Sabha elections)...We will surely raise the demand for debt relief (from NDA led government at Centre)," Dhindsa told reporters here on the sidelines of Punjab assembly.

Punjab government is hoping for debt relief in the shape of rescheduling of loan or interest subvention on borrowings.

"It is sure that we will get relief. Our case is genuine and strong. A lot of things can be worked out (with regard to debt relief).It can be rescheduling of loans or Government of India can give some interest subvention," Dhindsa elaborated.

He exuded confidence that the BJP-led NDA government would come to power after upcoming general elections. "The kind of support NDA is getting across the country, we are sure that it would come to power," he asserted.

SAD-BJP led Punjab government has been attributing huge debt largely to militancy and inadequate support from the Centre.

Already carrying a dubious tag of "debt stressed" state, Punjab`s total outstanding debt is projected to cross whopping Rs 1 lakh crore mark in current fiscal.

The outstanding debt of the state by end of 2013-14 was expected Rs 1,02,282 crore (Budget Estimates) with reserve funds and Rs 95,670 crore without reserve funds.

Dhindsa said the outstanding debt as percentage of GSDP has been brought down from 46.32 per cent in 2002-07 to 34.44 per cent in 2007-12.

Notably, Punjab government today presented a vote on account instead of full budget. Debt has been a very sensitive issue in Punjab as former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal had to part ways with Shiromani Akali Dal on the issue of debt relief.
The 13th Finance Commission had identified Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal as fiscally stressed states. Last year in the month of September, Punjab government had sought debt relief grant of Rs 24,813 crore from 14th Finance Commission to overcome financial challenges and achieve stable growth.
The Debt Relief Grant was towards outstanding Small Savings and Government of India (GoI) loans. Significantly, the then Prime Minister I K Gujral had waived off the entire special term loan raised during the militancy in Punjab.

First Published: Friday, March 7, 2014 - 19:05
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