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Gujarat third most indebted State: Anand Sharma

The UPA Government on Tuesday launched an attack on the “Gujarat economic model”, with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma saying that though BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi takes credit for Gujarat's pro-investments image, it is in fact the third most indebted State. “Nearly Rs 1.38 trillion is the debt of the State,” Mr. Sharma said.

Latest Reserve Bank data on State indebtedness released in Janaury, however, shows that Gujarat has in fact outperformed the target set by the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC) for it on the crucial parameter of debt as a percentage of the gross state domestic product (GSDP). Against the TFC target of 27.6 per cent, Gujarat achieved a debt-GSDP ratio of 23.2. It ranks ninth on the non-special category States list on the parameter.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Sharma further said that Mr. Modi's economic vision for India was nothing but “political plagiarism” and only a rehash of the UPA Government's achievements.

The Minister also alleged that the investment figures announced by the Gujarat Chief Minister during Vibrant Gujarat Summits were “exaggerated”. “Perhaps Modi is not familiar with (the current figures).The numbers are there in the record,” Mr. Sharma said.

Mr. Sharma said that the Reserve Bank's data shows that Gujarat received $9 bn in Foreign DirectInvestments (FDI) between April, 2000 and December 2013, adding that Maharashtra received the highest FDI during the said period ($65 billion), followed by Delhi ($38.8 bn) and Chennai ($12.6 bn). The official spokesperson of the Reserve Bank, however, told The Hindu on email that it does not publish states-wise data on FDI. Till the time of going to print, Mr. Sharma's office did not provide to The Hindu the source of the data quoted by the Minister at the press conference.

Earlier, Mr. Sharma had said that Mr. Modi had claimed in 2011 that during the Vibrant Gujarat summitthat the state inked FDI agreements worth $450 bn.“Just add it (the numbers). This is a multiple of at least five or six times of India's total FDI. The total FDI received by India is $296 billion so far,” he added.

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