Gujarat's public debt decreased under BJP rule: Dy CM Patel

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Gandhinagar, Mar 16 (PTI) Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Tuesday defended the state government's fiscal performance, saying that contrary to the Congress' claim, the state's public debt had actually come down under the BJP rule.

During a general discussion on the state budget in the legislative Assembly, Patel, who handles Finance portfolio, informed the House that as per the estimates of 2019-20, Gujarat's public debt was 16.19 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

The deputy chief minister was responding to Congress MLAs who had earlier accused the BJP government of financial mismanagement leading to high debt and high market borrowings.

'Debt should be seen in the context of the GSDP. In 1960-61, when Gujarat was formed, our GSDP was just Rs 738 crore and per capita income was Rs 362. Then, the BJP came to power in 1995. Due to our good governance, the GSDP went up to Rs 16,49,505 crore in 2019-20,' Patel said.

Gujarat's per capita income now stands at Rs 2.16 lakh, he said.

The Congress' claim that the state had started taking loans only after the BJP came to power is incorrect 'because the state has been borrowing money since its inception in 1960', he said.

'Our public debt was Rs 3,579 crore in 1987. It went up to Rs 6,920 crore in 1991-92, which was 22.59 per cent. At present, although the figure looks huge, the debt has actually dipped in terms of percentage,' Patel informed the House.

As against 22.59 per cent in 1991-92, it came down to 16.19 per cent as on 2019-20, a decrease of 6 per cent, he said.

'This drop of 6 per cent may not appear huge, but it is significant in terms of volume. We intend to decrease the debt percentage further in the future,' the deputy chief minister said.

As per the latest estimates shared by Patel while tabling the state budget in the Assembly earlier this month, Gujarat's public debt stands at Rs 3,00,959 crore.

As against the budget size of Rs 10,872 crore in 1995 -96, the latest budget was of over Rs 2.27,000 crore, he added.

Patel further informed the House that the state had spent Rs 1,800 crore for the treatment of coronavirus patients till now. PTI PJT ARU ARU