The State government is apparently struggling to mobilise finances, which showed steep decline since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in early March.
The government had raised ₹2,000 crore from the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday as State Development Loan (SDL) with tenure of 10 years and cut off yield of 6.6%. This is the second SDL raised from the RBI in the current month with the government raising ₹2,500 crore on June 9 to overcome the challenging financial conditions post COVID-19.
While the government had to fulfil the commitments of payment of salaries, pensions and other heads of accounts, it had ensured that ₹7,000 crore is kept aside for payment of Rythu Bandhu, the farmers investment support scheme, to close to 60 lakh farmers. With Tuesday’s ₹2,000 crore SDL, the total market borrowing during the current financial year reached ₹ 12,500 crore till date.
The government had initially contemplated to opt for open market borrowings of ₹9,000 crore for the first quarter of the current financial year going by the indicative calendar of market borrowings released by the RBI at the end of the previous financial year. The borrowings, however, reached ₹12,500 crore till date with government opting for loans in six tranches — five tranches of ₹ 2,000 crore each (April 13 and 21, May 21 and 26 and June 23) and one of ₹2,500 crore (June 9).
The borrowing comes at a time when the Department of Expenditure of the Union government had fixed the ceiling for open market borrowings by the State for first nine months of the current financial year at ₹15,051 crore. It, however, permitted the Apex Bank to make necessary arrangement in consultation with the State government to raise the open market borrowing limits and further consent for raising the OMB should be processed after receiving complete information from the State government.
The State continues to face difficult times on financial front as could be seen from the fact that its borrowings and other liabilities crossed the budgetary estimates during the previous fiscal too. According to the website of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, budget estimates for the fiscal 2019-20 pegged borrowings and other liabilities of the State at ₹24,081 crore while the actuals reached ₹26,659 crore by the end of February indicating the stress on the finances.