Odisha seems to have faltered in giving a booster dose to the growth chip. The CAG report tabled today in State Assembly points to the mismatch between growth in capital expenditure and GSDP growth.
The CAG data shows investment expenditure by the State government sharing a minor proportion of the expenditure pie.
As per the CAG report, the yearly growth in capital expenditure has dropped from a high of 52 per cent growth to minus 13 per cent in 2019-20. Moreover, the report has brought to fore the fact of lower actual capital expenditure vis-a-vis the budgeted figure for a majority of three years (2015-16, 2018-19 and 2019-20).
Also, after a consecutive four-year rise in capital expenditure in the economic services, the spending nosedived in 2019-20, before the strike bythe pandemic, the CAG report finds.
No Booster Shot For Economic Services
As per CAG report Accounts At A Glance: 2019-20, the revenue spending on economic services during the last five years had taken a baby step rise in Odisha. The revenue expenditure is meant for maintaining the economic assets created by capital investment. But to maintain the capital assets created, the actual revenue expenditure on economic services was on average up by a mere over Rs 1,500 cr. The spending was Rs 18,188 cr in 2015-16. In 2019-20, the expenditure stood at Rs 25,586 cr.
Investment in vital sectors like irrigation, rural development, power infra, roads and bridges took a beating. For which, the irrigation outreach in Odisha is still below 33 per cent. Owing to poor power infra, the T and D losses are high, but consumers are compelled to pay through nose, despite not availing quality power. Many villages lack all-weather roads and the images of pregnant women delivering babies by the roadside keep hitting the headlines.
And the image of Odisha as poor in development indices lingers on nationally.
The Other Blips
- Expenditure on salaries, pensions and interest payments now account for 40 per cent of the total revenue receipts of the Odisha government as against 35 percent in 2015-16.
- Public debt more than doubled to touch Rs 68,438cr in 2019-20 from Rs 33,757cr in 2015-16.
- The sharp rise in public debt is attributed to the announcement of a slew of popular schemes by the Odisha govt with an eye on votes.
- The total liabilities of the State also increased to over Rs 1.26 lakh cr from Rs 59,753 cr in 2015-16.
- During 2019-20 the total Liability increased by 17,826 crore (16 per cent) over previous year.
- The liabilities now account for 24 percent of the GSDP.