In this Mandi parliamentary by-poll, both Congress and BJP were trying to prove their point over the financial status of the state exchequer and blaming each other for the current financial mess. Earlier, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had blamed Congress led Govt for failing to get additional assistance from the center and accused Virbhadra Singh for putting additional loan liability on the state. He had accused Singh for taking a loan of Rs 1700 Cr in its initial five months of rule.
In reply to it, Industries and Public Relations Minister Mukesh Agnihotri had cleared that there was no shortage of funds for the developmental works or meeting other liabilities of the State Government. He said that all the departments had been given sufficient funds and developmental works were being carried out with accelerated pace in the State.
He said that State Government had got a hike of Rs. 400 crore in Plan size as Annual Plan size of Rs. 4100 crore had been approved by the Planning Commission for 2013-14 as compared to Rs. 3700 crore for 2012-13. He added that State had a healthy treasury balance with Reserve Bank of India.
Agnihotri clarified that State Government had a loan liability of Rs. 21,241 crore as on 31st March, 2008 which further increased to Rs. 28,513 crore on 31st March, 2013. Thus, the loan liabilities had increased by Rs. 7,272 crore in the period March, 2008 to March, 2013. Besides, loan amount of Rs. 1,838 crore was converted into guarantee in the year 2009-10. As such, the actual loan taken in last five years was Rs. 9,110 crore.
Mukesh Agnihotri accused previous BJP led regime for the current financial mess. He said that state Government had to take loans for meeting previous repayment liabilities. Agnihotri added that the State Government had availed a loan of Rs. 1100 crore only so far in 2013-14 and it had a loan repayment liabilities of nearly Rs. 1200 crore upto July this year which was 70 percent of the total repayments due in 2013-14. He said that in 2012-13 the repayment due upto July was Rs. 505 crore and the State had raised loans of Rs. 800 crore upto July, 2012. Therefore, it was not correct to say that State Government was facing any financial crisis simply by virtue of the fact that Rs. 1100 crore had been raised in first three months.
He said that the loans proposed to be raised during 2013-14 were as per the three percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) limit fixed by the 13th Finance Commission.