GUWAHATI, Feb 2 � The State is now able to maintain a comfortable cash balance, which is enough to tide over any eventuality in case there is a downturn. It is earning around Rs 500 crore annually as interest on the cash balance it has with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Meanwhile, the State Government has started a sinking fund, with an annual deposit of around Rs 150 crore to repay the debts when they mature. This is expected to provide budgetary stability. It is maintained by the RBI paying an interest at the rate of 8.5 per cent annually. The size of the fund has grown to around Rs 2,000 crore now.
Disclosing this, sources in the Finance Department told this correspondent that during the current financial year, the State has not taken any loan. In the last financial year, it borrowed only Rs 450 crore, against a borrowing limit of Rs 3,200 crore,.
Today, the per capita debt burden of the State is the second lowest in the country. It has repaid over Rs 20,000 crore against the principal and interest on its loan amounts. And its achievement of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) targets helped it get a debt write-off of Rs 625 crore from the 12 th Finance Commission.
The 13th Finance Commission also rewarded the State with an incentive of Rs 300 crore for its achieving the FRBM targets like curtailment of revenue deficit and fiscal deficit, debt-GSDP ratio etc.
Since April 2, 2005, the State has not gone for overdraft for a single day. Earlier, it had to pay about Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore annually as interest on its overdraft drawals.
How has this resurgence become possible? Sources attribute it to the growth in the State�s own tax and revenue collection. This financial year, it has been able to register a tax growth of 27 per cent, which is the highest in the country.
This has been possible because of the computerization of the treasuries and the tax offices. This has reduced the human error factor in these offices.
The State�s own revenue collection is growing annually at the rate of over 25 per cent on an average, because of the administrative and financial reforms.
Assam made good presentation before the 12th and 13th Finance Commissions. This raised the State�s share in Central Taxes and other devolutions or Central Transfers significantly.
The 13th Finance Commission gave Assam nearly Rs 58,000 crore as against the around Rs 24,000 crore of the 12th Finance Commission and around Rs 13,000 crore of the 11th Finance Commission.
Introduction of the payment of salaries and pensions through the banks has also enabled the State to save between Rs 30 crore and Rs 40 crore per month. As, this has helped it remove the ghost pensioners, ghost employees and some ghost teachers from the pay bills, sources said.