Sikkim legislative assembly | File photo

Sikkim Bharatiya Janata Party president and legislator Dilli Ram Thapa blew the horn on the off-budget borrowing by the state government claiming that Sikkim falls behind only Telangana, terming the borrowing as a “death trap”.

The BJP MLA raised concern during the discussion on the passing of the Fourth Supplementary Demands for Grants 2022-23 as part of the Sikkim legislative assembly’s financial business on March 29.

Thapa also raised the same concern during his valedictory remarks in the assembly, wherein he stated: “We have around Rs 3000 crore of revenue but our loan is about Rs 27,000 crore. Instead of plugging the leakage of revenue or increasing the revenue, we are borrowing all the time.”

“Besides, we are also taking off the budget loans which is like a death trap as declared by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently, which we shouldn’t be taking. We are taking loans for another 25-30 years and giving the future generation the burden of loans as a gift. Our loans are beyond the net borrowing criteria,” he added.

Taking reference to the comptroller and auditor general report, Thapa stated: “CAG report mentions non-disclosure and off-budget borrowing has a dual impact. It mentions how the borrowing is against the 11th Finance Commission. Eight states have been declared to get off-budget borrowing only after full disclosure and approval from the Indian government.”

“It also includes Sikkim which is second among the highest loan-taking states. Our loan borrowing has exceeded the net borrowing, it is more than the state revenue,” he added.

Drawing comparisons with the financial situation in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the state BJP president said: “The state finance department has officials who only know how to take out loans, they do not know how to repay loans. Do we have the potential to pay back the loan which no one is considering. The state is running on austerity measures.”

Countering the statements made by Thapa, chief minister Prem Singh Tamang stated in the assembly discussion: “Since forming the government in 2019, we have reduced the revenue spending and there is no increase in the revenue taken as loan. The loans have been taken as per the central government norms, which are long-term loans extending almost 50 years with no interest fee.”

“We assure that the overburden on the Sikkimese economy will not happen with these loans. With the passing of the Finance Bill 2023 on March 22, we are yet to utilize the allocation under the fourth Supplementary Demands for Grants before March 31, hence they are being passed,” Tamang added.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Avatar photo
About TNM NewsDesk


The News Mill is a Guwahati-based digital media with focus on content from across Northeast India and beyond. We can be reached through [email protected]