CM Vasundhara Raje introduced winning schemes to fix up the loose ends in last 2 years.
While the opposition may come down, intent on wreaking mayhem on Raje, it is Congress’s skin-deep populism that had put state finances in a jeopardy earlier. When Raje demitted office in 2008, Rajasthan was ‘financially sound and solvent’ with a revenue profit of Rs. 1,653 crores. When Gehlot took over in 2009, revenue losses incurred in his tenure had surpassed Rs. 4,189 crores, reflecting Congress’s pathetic financial management. Fixing their bloopers were a nightmare for BJP, but they’ve achieved significant success in repairing the crumbling financial structure of Rajasthan.
Major Fronts Where Congress Miserably Failed & BJP Successfully Recovered Significant Losses
To start with muddled transportation system, BJP in 2003-2008, approached E.Shreedharan, the ‘metro expert’ of India with the idea of introducing Metro in Jaipur. He had marked the project redundant and unprofitable for Rajasthan. Still, the succeeding government assigned Rs. 1200 crores to Metro Project, thereby siphoning off funds from major PSUs like RIICO and Raj Housing. By the end of their term, just Rs. 4 crores were left for developmental projects. Even today, Jaipur metro is a financial burden on Rajasthan.
Raje introduced Regional Connectivity Scheme to counter Congress’s transport mishaps. As a result of her persistent efforts, Rajasthan received its first intrastate flights and an international flight, in collaboration with Singapore government.
- Livelihood and Employment
Addition of 4 lakh government vacancies and implementation of 7th Pay Commission by Congress in 2013, burdened BJP with an additional Rs. 11,000 crores. To top it all social security pensions were marked up by Rs. 2,355 crores in 2013 (as compared to Rs. 650 crores in the previous year). It’s ironic that state finances had succumbed to a quivering mess under Gehlot, a postgraduate in Economics.
Raje hit back with powerful schemes like ‘Bhamashah’ and ‘RSLDC’ (Skill Development Mission) to ensure gender empowerment, better employment and equal distribution of resources, opportunities etc.
- Barmer Controversy & Deteriorating Revenues
Recession in global crude oil prices fuelled up Barmer controversy. Congress had recklessly handed over people’s land, state resources and a loan of Rs. 4000 crore to finance HPCL’s 372 billion project in the name of development. Now, the BJP government is struggling hard to bring down IRR (Internal Rate of Return) to 12%, contrary to 15%, as quoted by HPCL.
Rapid decline in tax revenue was an outcome of loosely-framed Congress policies. Sluggish automobile segments pulled down Road tax revenues. A dormant real estate market led to 3% growth in Stamp and registration. Moreover, the state expects a significant burden due to crash in global crude oil prices. Including DISCOM debt, total economic burden on Rajasthan state is estimated to be Rs. 2.48 lakh crores.
Currently, the government is promoting IT, ITe, industrial, agriculture and tourism sectors to strengthen revenues.
- Sluggish Welfare Schemes
The last 6 months of Congress rule was a hullabaloo of nonsensical schemes. They issued lakhs of ration cards and the number of unverified beneficiaries increased tremendously, putting state under fiscal pressure. Rs. 20,720 crores were invested in drinking water, when the actual amount sanctioned was Rs. 8826 crores for the entire term. Still, they couldn’t produce any substantial results in irrigation and water supply system.
‘Mukhyamantri Jal Swaavlamban Abhiyan’ and ‘Global Rajasthan Agricultural Meet’ (GRAM) were implemented by BJP government to uplift the poor status of agriculture and irrigation in rural regions.
- Power Debts
Congress failed to address power and water crisis in their term. In BJP’s last tenure, they’d supplied electricity to 36,000 villages, but the number rapidly declined during Congress’s rule. To add to the mess, electricity debts were a source of headache for the current CM. In 2008, Raje left DISCOMs in a fairly reasonable financial status. Total losses incurred since inception were Rs. 15,643 crores. However, when she assumed office in 2013, debts had ballooned to Rs. 80,000 crores, which is a massive number in itself.
To restructure power system and settle DISCOM debts, Rajasthan government had to borrow more than their statutory limit of state GDP (which is 3%). To settle this loss, the government plans to maximize electricity production through sun, biomass and wind energy. They announced VAT exemptions on solar torches and biomass stoves in an attempt to attract investments in alternate power generation. Budget 2016 was a powerful tool to resolve the prevalent financial crises.
Kittenish newcomers like Pilot may not understand the reasoning behind these schemes and statistics, but a concrete roadmap to financial recovery has been laid out by BJP government. Under Raje’s supervision Rajasthan looks forward to a progressive, economically sound and stable future.