Monday, April 22, 2024

CM responds to Opp concern about loans


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Govt allays apprehension of debt trap

SHILLONG, March 6: Meghalaya government has allayed apprehensions about state falling in a debt trap, with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma clarifying that the state is not financing developmental projects all by taking loans.
“I have been explaining this time and again in the Assembly how we have funded projects. The loan component is there. But loan is only to the tune of what the RBI and the Government of India allows us,” Sangma told reporters reacting to VPP’s concern over state going on a loan spree.
According to him, the RBI and Centre does not allow state governments to take more loans than the assigned cap. “We have been maintaining the caps. Therefore, it’s not an issue at all,” the CM asserted.
He then remarked that the opposition MLAs should have stayed back to listen to his reply on the budget. Sangma said that questions could have been raised if only they stayed to hear the response.
“The decision of opposition MLAs to stay away from the reply is not a responsible way of being a public representative. Let us have a healthy debate in House. I was explaining to them and they could have easily asked me for clarification. On the day of the budget reply, I’ve given a very detailed presentation along with facts and figures and charts. Most people are now clear about what has happened. I don’t mind to again reply with the same presentation another time if they wish to (witness it),” the CM said.
Earlier, the Opposition VPP had questioned the ‘huge’ quantum of loans collected by the MDA Government out of the open market.
VPP president Ardent M Basaiawmoit stated that the state’s finances are in terrible condition, adding that the state government had borrowed about Rs 13,000 crore from a variety of sources as of March 31, 2024.
Moreover, Cabinet Minister and MDA Spokesperson, Paul Lyngdoh allayed apprehensions of state falling in a debt trap.  “We will certainly nullify those loans by ensuring that there is also revenue generation from the loan,” Lyngdoh said on Wednesday.
It may be noted that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had last year warned that the state’s borrowing trend had increased by over 63% in the past five years and could lead it into a debt trap.
Lyngdoh reiterated the government’s ambitious plan of action of making Meghalaya a 10 million dollar economy by the end of the tenure of MDA 2.0.
He highlighted several projects that are doing well in the state including the CM Elevate programme, Meghalaya Grassroots Music Project, which is currently in its second season and engages roughly around 3,000 youngsters. “We have about 15,000 people directly or indirectly engaged by the tourism sector,” he added.
The Chief Minister, on the other hand, revealed that the government has been able to make use of the special assistance on capital investment provided on a 50-year loan, which is interest free.
“And for that we have a consolidated fund and we are putting money to pay back so that it will not be a burden on us. We have been able to take more than four times of what the amount was allotted to us,” Sangma added.


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