GUWAHATI, July 20: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that “Assam is a better fiscally-managed state than any other Congress-ruled state in the country.
Addressing the Assam Assembly during a discussion on the state Budget 2021-22 that was tabled recently, Sarma, citing a report from CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) said that the debt-GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) in the state is “only 18.9 percent” compared to Congress-ruled states such as Punjab (39.9 percent) and Rajasthan (33.6 percent).
“Even Bengal has a high debt-GSDP ratio of 32.6 percent. For that matter, Assam’s debt-GSDP ratio is marginally better than even a top state like Gujarat which has a 19.2 debt-GSDP ratio,” the chief minister said.
Sarma further said that in accordance with Article 292 of the Indian Constitution, “it is the Centre which decides how much loan a state can take.”
“This year, as against resources worth Rs 3.50lakh crore (against each person), Assam will take a loan of only Rs 18,000 crore. According to central government norms, Assam can take a loan of 28.5 percent of its GSDP. But the state has taken only 22 percent,” he said, while urging the Opposition MLAs not to divert people in regard to loans taken by the state.
Taking a jab at the Congress, the chief minister further said that only “10 percent of the state Budget could be implemented during 2001 and 2015 (the period when Congress was in power). However, during five years of BJP rule, up to 80 percent of the Budget proposals have been implemented.”
Sarma further claimed that no other state finance minister presents a budget along with an action-taken report.
“The state government has fulfilled 18 out of the 18 promises it made in the last budget, including various schemes apart from the highest investment made in Numaligarh Refinery,” he said.
Citing another example “from the past”, the chief minister said that Assam tax growth was at an all-time low of only 2 percent in the year 2015-16.
“Comparatively, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) collection was Rs 5000 crore during 2017-18, Rs 8856 crore during 2018-19, Rs 10,939 crore during 2019-20 and amid COVID-19 last year, the state managed to collect Rs 9,700crore,” he said.