By Amit Cowper
Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government’s cumulative public debt has shot up to an astronomical Rs 2,40,651 crore in 2018-19 and estimated to rise to Rs 2,66,990 crore in the current financial year, which is Rs 62,000 crore more than the total budget of Rs 2,04,815 crore presented by state Finance Minister Nitin Patel here on Tuesday for 2019-20.
According to the statement by the government, under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2005, submitted in the Assembly, the state’s estimated public debt of Rs 2,66,990 crore for 2019-20 is expected to rise to Rs 2,99,990 crore in 2020-21 and to a whopping Rs 3,34,990 crore by the end of 2021-22.
Gujarat’s public debt has been consistently rising year-on-year since 2004-05 when it was Rs 16,401 crore that year, except for 2006-07 and the next year. The state’s cumulative public debt was Rs 1,99,338 crore in 2016-17, which, by an increase of 6.64 per cent, rose to Rs 2,12,591 crore in 2017-18 and to Rs 2,40,651 crore in 2018-19, which is a whopping 13.19 per cent rise.
The total public debt of Rs 2,40,651 crore as on 2018-19 comprises Rs 1,79,353 crore from market borrowings and power bonds, Rs 39,385 crore from National Small Savings Fund loans, Rs 14,690 crore loans from financial institutions and banks and Rs 7,223 crore from loans and advances from the Central government.
Against this, the Gujarat government has seen constant increases in its revenues over the years. The state’s revenue receipts have increased from Rs 20,265 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 1,40,532 in 2018-19 as per the revised estimates, with about Rs 10,000 crore average annual rise during the past decade.