ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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POLITICS-Divided Secularists

he advanced to support his assertion was that interest payments projected at Rs 60,000 crore in 1996-97 would absorb 46 per cent of the total revenue of the central government. But has he examined why the ratio of the government's interest payments has soared, and that too in the reform years? If his subalterns in the Planning Commission had briefed him properly, the answer would have been readily available to him and he might not have hastened to put all the blame on the supposedly indiscriminate growth of public borrowing. The head of the Planning Commission ought to know that when he rails against public borrowing he is, at the same time, cutting the ground from under his own feet. After all, it is public borrowing which is the principal source of financing available to his Plan. Neither the centre nor the slates are able today to generate enough revenues even to cover their non-Plan revenue accounts, So when Dandavate asks for a limit "to be placed on borrowings through appropriate central and slate legislations", he is really advocating a limit to be placed on the Plan size. But he is, at the same time, reportedly telling the stales that the next Five-Year Plan will be at least twice the size of the Eighth Plan in nominal terms. How serious he is in this regard is open to strong doubt, judging by his exhortation in support of checking public borrowing.

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