Nagpur: While the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) is increasing, its growth rate has increased after a sharp decrease in 2014. While comparing the period of 2012-13 to 2016-17, one realises that the rate of interest payments for loans has been increasing every year. These were the concerns mentioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report submitted to the legislature on Friday by the state’s finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The chief minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government has always claimed that the government is taking the loans for capital expenditure but the CAG pointed out that while capital expenditure is decreasing, expenses related to wages and pensions are increasing.
The growth rate was 8.8 per cent due to drought in the year 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in the state. Due to various steps taken by Mr Fadnavis to attract investments, the growth rate and GDP are increasing, but the growth rate has not reached the 2012-13 figure — 13.8.
The CAG also observed that development capital expenditure as a percentage to the total expenditure decreased from 15.1 in 2015-16 to 14.7 in 2016-17. The decrease was seen under energy, agriculture and allied activities’ expenditure. The percentage of capital expenditure on the social services increased from three in 2015-16 to 3.5 in 2016-17.
Interest paid by the state government in 2016-17 was Rs 28,532 crore on the debt, and it was Rs 25,771 crore in the earlier year.
Expenditure on the pension payments increased by 13.3 per cent from Rs 13,429 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 21,760 crore in 2016-17. The salaries and wages’ burden touched Rs 72,583 crore in 2016-17, the CAG said. Due to increase in wages and pension, the state government is reeling under financial crunch and has to borrow more loans while the burden of interest payments is increasing every year. The state has to borrow to pay the interest also.
The arrears of revenue locked up in appeals with the Sales Tax Department, Maharashtra Sales Tax Tribunal and Courts as on 31 March 2016 aggregated to Rs 60,135.26 crore in 1,02,743 appeal cases. The Government promulgated an Act called the “Maharashtra Settlement of Arrears in Dispute Act, 2016” on 26 April 2016 to unlock these arrears. But CAG observed that, The expected settlement of arrears and the recovery was not properly assessed at the time of framing policy of the Settlement Act.