Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Monday, 25 September, gave details about the debt raised by the current state government.
"The state government has raised debt of Rs 47,109 crore during last one and a half year which includes debt of Rs 32,448 crore raised during the fiscal year 2022-23, and Rs 14,661 crore from 1 April 2023 to 31 August 2023," Cheema said.
He further claimed, "Rs 27,106 crore were paid as interest on the debt raised by the previous Akali-BJP and Congress led state governments."
The statement from the finance minister comes at a time when the Opposition has been accusing the Aam Aadmi Party-led government of distributing "freebies".
"The state of Punjab is not being run on its income but on the debt which was taken for distribution of freebies," Congress leader told news agency PTI earlier this week.
Cheema further gave details of the state's finances. He said:
The state government spent Rs 10,208 crore on capital expenditure.
Incurred debt of Rs 1,148 crore from Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation (PUNSUP) and Punjab State Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank.
Paid Rs 2,556 crore to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for pending power subsidies.
"Rs 798 crores of the Rural Development Fund, Rs 1,008 crores of sugarcane farmers, and Rs 1,750 crores of centrally sponsored schemes were paid, and Rs 4,000 crore was also invested in the sinking fund established by the Union government to get loans at affordable rates," Cheema added.
He also claimed that the state government has to take dues of Rs 8,145 crore from Centre, including money from the National Health Mission, special capital assistance, and the Rural Development Fund.
"Apart from writing letters to the Union Government, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann paid a visit to the concerned Union Minister to seek the state’s dues, including the Rural Development Fund (RDF) pending towards the Union Government. He appealed to the Punjab Governor to help in getting dues from the Union Government."FM Harpal Singh Cheema