While the Gujarat government continues to invest in loss-incurring entities like the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC), the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Thursday pegged the consolidated losses of State Public Sector Undertakings (SPSUs) in the state at a humongous Rs 30,400 crore.
Gujarat currently has 97 SPSUs, including 64 government companies, four statutory corporations and 29 government-controlled organisations. The aggregate net worth of all these SPSUs now stands at Rs 1.46 lakh crore, against their paid-up capital of Rs 1.26 lakh crore.
The state government had invested Rs 1,000 crore in GSPC during 2020-21, whose net worth stood at negative Rs 288 crore. The state also invested Rs 469 crore in GSRTC – booking losses since 1973-74 – and its net worth has now fallen to negative Rs 447 crore.
The auditor office pointed out that in 2020-21, the state government invested Rs 2,117 crore in the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which has been incurring losses since 2015-16. The SSNNL had accumulated losses of Rs 6,105 crore at the end of 2019-20, while the GSRTC had accumulated losses of Rs 3667 crore at the end of 2017-18.
The report states that as of March 31, 2021, 44 SPSUs registered losses of Rs 30,435 crore, 11 of which were under winding-up or closure or liquidation. While the average return on investments in these SPSUs was a mere 0.12 per cent during 2020-21, the state government paid an average interest of 7.19 per cent on its borrowings during the same period.
However, investments in loss-making SPSUs seem to continue, despite the CAG’s budgetary assistance, from Rs 17,187 crore in 2016-17 up to Rs 6,881 crore in 2020-21. This includes loans, grants and subsidies and equity.
During 2020-21, 50-odd SPSUs earned a profit of Rs 6,554 crore, the report added.