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Odisha’s Fiscal Landscape: Balancing Debt and Development in 2023

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In Bhubaneswar, Finance Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha unveiled Odisha’s financial landscape as of July 31, 2023. The state carries a significant debt load of Rs 88,487.11 crore. Arukha’s response to a question from BJD member Prafulla Samal detailed the breakdown: Rs 21,364.63 crore with the Government of India, Rs 5,465.57 crore with NSSF, Rs 19,558.07 crore from the Open Market, Rs 19,558.07 crore with NABARD, Rs 1.28 crore with GIC, Rs 579.70 crore with SCDF, Rs 247.93 crore with REC & Others, and a substantial Rs 23,254.21 crore from GPF.

Arukha highlighted that Odisha, since the 2005-06 fiscal year, has maintained a revenue surplus status. This fiscal strength aids the government in funding essential projects and capital structuring through a combination of revenue surplus and loans from diverse sources, resulting in a manageable fiscal deficit.

Notably, the fiscal deficit stood at 0.32% in 2005-06, increased to 1.99% by 2022-23, and is projected to reach 3.00% in 2023-24, aligning with the 3.00% limit established by the Odisha Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act of 2005.

Additionally, the Auditor General’s report for the 2022-23 fiscal year documented Odisha’s total loan burden at Rs 88,164.82 crore, with a per capita loan burden of Rs 19,992, emphasizing the state’s ongoing financial challenges.

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