The Government had been paying about 90 per cent of its income as salary, pension and interest, forcing it to borrow for development activities.

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram, April 28

Kerala's public debt as on March 31, 2006, was at Rs 45,024 crore, the Finance Minister, Mr Vakkom Purushothaman, said in a statement here.

Denying reports that the State's public debt had reached Rs 56,000 crore, the Minister said that as per the estimates of the Accountant General, the public debt was Rs 44,919 crore as on February 28 and it reached Rs 45,025 crore as on March 31.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Government had availed itself of loans to the tune of Rs 21,105 crore. The Government had been paying about 90 per cent of its income as salary, pension and interest, which forced it to resort to borrowings for development activities, he noted. The Minister said that the increase in debt during the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government was 137 per cent, whereas the increase during the UDF rule was 88 per cent.

When the LDF government demitted office, the public debt stood at Rs 23,919 crore. In addition, it had left behind liabilities totalling Rs 24,210 crore. The Government had to pay large amounts as interest on the previous government's debt, he said.

The Minister stated that the Government was able to raise the revenue income from Rs 8,731 crore in 2000-01 to Rs 15,000 crore in 2005-06. Also, there had been no overdrafts or ways and means advances from the Reserve Bank of India as at the end of the last financial year, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 29, 2006)
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