The 34 years of the Left Front misrule in Bengal has left the State with a huge debt burden. For the repayment of the Rs 1,91,835 crore loan, the State had to borrow Rs 1,53,741 crore, taking the total loan to Rs 3,45, 577 crore. In 2018-19 we had to pay Rs 49,656 crore as total loan repayment.
Despite this, due to prudent fiscal management, the debt to GSDP ratio of our State has gone down from 40.65% to 35.63% in seven years from 2010-11 to 2017-18. The revenue deficit to GSDP ratio has also dropped during the same period, from 3.75% to 0.96%. The fiscal deficit has almost halved, from 4.24% to 2.83%.
The planned expenditure of Bengal has grown over five-fold, from Rs 11,837 crore in 2011-12 to 56,604 crore in 2017-18, and the capital expenditure has grown over eight-fold, from Rs 2,225 crore to 19,368 crore. Added with significant strides in many indices of human development, particularly in the fields of education and health, these will have a multiplier effect on the long-term growth of Bengal’s economy.
Therefore, the Government should ensure that our efficiency and equity be rewarded, and that the debt burden does not remain a permanent drag on Bengal’s economy. I urge the Government to take urgent steps to address this issue.