Sat Pal Singh Satti, President, State BJP, has sharply reacted to the statement of Virbhadra Singh, President, HP Congress Committee, appearing in a section of the press today, calling it baseless, misleading, a buldle of lies and based on sheer imaginative figures aimed at creating misunderstanding to fulfill his political agenda. He said that BJP Government under the visionary and dynamic leadership of Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, has proved its perfect financial management during past four and half years while it was during Congress regime that massive fiscal mis-management had taken place. Shti Satti said that the BJP government has managed the State finances in the best interest of the State under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister. This is evident from the fact that cash balances of the State with the Reserve Bank of India remained positive through out the last 4½ years. Recently the Chief General Manager of the RBI visited the state and lauded the financial management of the State. He said that Virbhadra Singh was quoting imaginative figures and telling lie since the debt liabilities inherited by BJP Government from preceding Congress Government, was Rs. 21,241 crore and not Rs. 19,000 as quoted by him. Congress Government had raised loan of Rs. 8,032 crore from year 2002-03 to 2007-08 despite the fact that they did not pay any liability of employees due to pay revision during Congress regime.
BJP not only implemented the Pay Commission recommendations in the best interest of its employees but also cleared all arrears payable to the employees and pensioners, besides DA liabilities during present regime and total increase in loan was only Rs. 5,366 crore, which was Rs. 2,666 crore less than what Congress had borrowed. 13th Finance Commission has restricted the loan limit at 3 percent of the GSDP and no state in the country could exceed the limit in any way. Therefore, it is the previous regime which placed the State in the debt trap. The previous government even resorted to taking loan through Forest Corporation, HPSEB etc. which is not allowed by the Government of India whereas the present govt. has taken only the eligible loan thorough RBI with the prior consent of the Government of India. Satti called the statement of pilferage of Rs. 15,000 crore from the State Government as totally baseless and ridicules. The State has performed exceedingly well in its tax and non tax collection in last 4½ years. The 13th Finance Commission has given a target of Rs 14,737 crore for 2010-11 to 2012-13 whereas the actual Revenue Receipt for these 3 years has been Rs. 18,421 crore. This shows that the State Government has been able to collect more revenue amounting to Rs 3,684 crore than the targets fixed by the 13th Finance Commission. The Own Tax Revenue has shown an increase of 248 percent since 2006-07 to 2011-12 as the same has increased from Rs. 1,656 crore to Rs. 4,108 crore in 2011-12. Target fixed by the 13th Finance Commission for Tax to GSDP ratio is 6.7 percent in 2014-15 has been achieved by the State Government in 2011-12 itself. The 13th Finance Commission has fixed the target of 3 percent fiscal deficit and the Government of Himachal Pradesh has been able remain within the ceiling of 3 percent. On the other hand the fiscal deficit of Central Govt. for 2011-12 rose to 5.9 percent and this year it is going to be 6.1 percent which is leading to huge inflation punishing the poor people. The indicators of fiscal health of the State are the debt-GSDP ratio and debt servicing-GSDP ratio. The debt-GSDP ratio which stood at 63 percent in 2007-08 has come down to 46 percent in 2010-11. Further, the debt servicing (loan repayments and interest payments) to GSDP ratio has come down from 8 percent in 2007-08 to 5 percent in 2010-11. Satti said that in the past four years the State economy grew at an average rate of 8.3 percent taking the GSDP of the State from Rs.33,963 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.54,695 crore in 2010-11. Further, the growth rate in 2011-12 is expected to be 7.6 percent which is much higher than the national estimate of 6.9 percent. As a result of this fast pace of growth the per capita income of the State has increased from Rs.43,966 in 2007-08 to 65,535 in 2010-11 and is expected to be 73,608 in 2011-12 which is 20 percent higher than the national level of Rs.60,972. It is not true that Revenue Receipts of the State have come down from 27 percent of GSDP in 2006-07 to 22 percent of GSDP in 2011-12. In fact the ratio of total Revenue Receipts to GSDP was 25.87 percent in 2006-07 and 24.12 percent in 2011-12. The decline is due to the fact that the 13th Finance Commission has grossly erred in estimation of our committed liabilities. The 13thFinance Commission has recommended only 50 percent increase over the devolution recommended by 12th Finance Commission in case of Himachal Pradesh whereas the average increase has been 126 percent in case of other States. Had we been given equal treatment in fiscal transfers, Himachal Pradesh would have got additional Rs. 10,725 crore over 5 years period of 2010-14. The 12thFinance Commission had recommended Revenue Deficit Grant of Rs. 10,202 crore whereas the 13th Finance Commission has recommended only Rs. 7,889 crore which shows that there is a decrease of Rs. 2,313 crore. The State Government has taken up the matter several times with GoI regarding this injustice, but no special assistance has been granted to us so far. Satti said that thus, despite the injustice committed by the 13thFinance Commission, the State Government has been able to manage it financial well because of better tax and non tax collection within the State. The CAG in its latest report on State finances for ending 2010 has mentioned that the State Government has done well in establishing an institutional mechanism on fiscal transparency and accountability in the State. Satti challenged Virbhadra Singh to prove above facts and figures wrong and advised him not to make misleading statements to gain cheap popularity as people of Himachal Pradesh were wise enough to compare the development State had witnessed under the leadership of Prof. Dhumal when every section of the society has been benefited under people welfare oriented progressive policies and programmes of the BJP Government with that of Congress regime headed by Virbhadra Singh when the development had come to a grinding halt.