BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, June 19: The total public debt burden of Assam ballooned up nearly threefold to over Rs 31,300 crore during the three consecutive terms of Tarun Gogoi-led Congress governments. In terms of the State's gross domestic product (GSDP), the public debt ratio comes to a worrisome 17.03 percent. This came to light in the assembly today when Fince minister Himanta Biswa Sarma fielded a question posed by AGP's Patacharkuchi MLA Pobindra Deka.
In his reply, the Fince minister furnished data to show that when the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress came to power in 2001, the State had a public debt burden of Rs 11,700.22 crore outstanding in the fincial year 2001-02 - the loans being taken from the market, different fincial institutions, Central small savings, Central government and general provident fund (GPF). In the next 2002-03 fiscal, the public debt rose to Rs 12,948.22 crore. Then came a sharp spike in 2008-09 when the total public debt soared to Rs 22, 160.67 crore.
When the Congress came back with a bigger mandate for its third term, the public debt in the 2011-12 fiscal amounted to Rs 25,936.50 crore. By 31 March, 2015, the total public debt of the State stood at a whopping Rs 31,300.99 crore.
As for the total interest outgo during the three terms of Congress reign, the State paid out combined Rs 23,486.79 crore from 2001 to 2015 March end. In 2001-02, the interest paid amounted to Rs 922.31 crore, in 2006-07 it was Rs 1,513.78 crore and in 2011-12 it was much further up by Rs 2,072.15 crore. As for the public debt and interest outgo figures for the fincial year 2015-16, the Accountant General is yet to submit its report, the Fince minister informed the House.