March 11, 2020 8:50:13 pm
OPPOSITION CONGRESS on Wednesday lambasted the Himachal Pradesh government for failing to withdraw its deposited money from the crisis-ridden Yes Bank and accused the government of unleashing “financial anarchy” in Himachal Pradesh.
During a discussion on the Budget in the ongoing session of the state Legislative Assembly, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri alleged that the Kangra Central Co-operative Bank made a fixed deposit of Rs 150 crore in Yes Bank while Dharamshala Smart City Limited, a state government company, had deposited Rs 179 crore in the bank.
“I have also heard that the Army Training Command and the HP Power Transmission Corporation have deposits in the bank. It has been known for sometime that Yes Bank was heading towards its doom, and other state governments scrambled to withdraw their money. Why were you asleep? Were there no nationalised banks here to make deposits? Which person floated this idea of depositing government money in a private bank?” he asked.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur replied that Yes Bank was granted licence during the UPA regime in 2004 and the Congress government in the state started depositing money in the bank. “The RBI has assured that all deposits in the bank will remain safe,” he said.
Agnihotri further said that the state government has made a public borrowing of around Rs 10,000 crore since it came to power around two years ago. “Nearly Rs 6,000 crore has been borrowed since April last year. As per the Budget, the projected public debt is expected to rise to Rs 61,000 crore by the end of 2020-21. On the other hand, the Budget is silent on sources of revenue. You are relying on central assistance and foreign funding but no funds are coming from these two sources to cover the gap funding. You have shown fake sources,” he alleged.
He added that due to lack of industrial packages by the Centre, industrial units worth Rs 500 crore have shut shop, rendering 8,000 employees jobless. “The Centre has also refused to fund the proposed rail lines and the airport at Mandi. How will you complete these projects?” he asked.
Agnihotri alleged that there are irregularities in the procurement of medicines worth Rs 128 crore by the Health department last year. Speaker Vipin Parmar, who was the health minister until recently, said all medicines were procured through e-tendering as per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Thakur said there is no scope for scams and irregularities in the present government.
The CM added that the debt is not as high as alleged by the Opposition. “You have twisted the figures to suit your allegations. There is a difference between gross borrowings and net borrowings,” he said.
Nurpur MLA Rakesh Pathania said the Congress budgets for 2016-17 and 2017-18 too made no mention of revenue sources. He said that the state inherited a debt of Rs 48,000 crore from the Congress government. He added that processes for completion of all proposed projects in the state were underway.
Earlier in the day, Congress MLAs staged a walkout from the House over the issue of exploitation of outsourced employees. Barsar MLA Inder Dutt Lakhanpal raised the issue during the Question Hour and the CM replied that the government recruitment rules do not apply to outsourced employees as they are hired by service provider companies. However, there are provisions for ensuring minimum wages, travel and daily allowance, and maternity leaves for female employees, he said.
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