Rebutting Opposition Leader Jayalalithaa's criticism of the high public debt of the Tamil Nadu government, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday said the debt-Gross State Domestic Product (GDSP) ratio was lower than what it was under AIADMK rule in 2005-06.

In a statement here, he said the government's total liabilities were estimated to reach Rs.1,01,541 crore at the end of 2010-11, but it amounted to only 19.58 per cent of the GSDP, whereas the debt-GSDP ratio was 22.29 per cent in 2005-06. “The total liabilities are a cumulative figure and include loans taken during Ms. Jayalalithaa's rule also,” Mr. Karunanidhi said.

From 2005-07 to 2010-11, the liabilities rose by Rs.44,084 crore, but during the same period, the government's capital expenditure grew by Rs.44,667 crore. “This shows that the loans availed of had been spent for productive purposes,” he said.

Regarding Ms. Jayalalithaa's criticism that the government would end 2010-11 with a higher fiscal deficit – Rs.17,607 crore – than estimated, Mr. Karunanidhi said she had ignored the fact that the government was set to end the coming fiscal with a revenue surplus of Rs.438.78 crore and that the fiscal deficit was estimated to come down to Rs.13,506 crore, or 2.32 per cent of GSDP, at the end of 2011-12.

He also denied her claim that question hour was included in the Assembly's agenda on Saturday only to avoid presenting the interim budget during ‘raahu kaalam.' Even in 2001, the question hour preceded the presentation of the interim budget, Mr. Karunanidhi said.

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