Congress has good track record in dealing with graft: Pranab

Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said that the Congress has a unique track record in dealing with corruption which could not be said about other parties.

Addressing the media here, Mukherjee said whether it was a minister, a chief minister or any other senior leader, wherever there was a complaint of corruption immediate action was taken.
“This is not true about other parties,” he pointed out.
Disputing charges by the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab that the centre had been discriminatory towards the state, Mukherjee said the central government had provided generous aid to the state whenever asked and even without askance.
Replying to a question about the over Rs.70,000 crore Punjab debt, he said that the 13th Finance Commission had identified three states — Punjab, West Bengal and Kerala — which were “debt stressed” and if corrective measures were not taken, they could fall in a debt trap.
He said the commission wanted these states to improve the Tax-GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) ratio. He pointed out that Punjab’s Tax-GSDP ratio was low at around seven per cent while there were some other states in the country whose ratio was as high as nine percent.
“Punjab needs effective fiscal management as the state’s debt was somewhere between Rs.70,000 to 72,000 crore, which was about 40 percent of its GSDP,” he added.
He said food inflation, which touched the peak of 22 percent in Feb 2010, dropped considerably to less than 1 percent last month.
“Inflationary pressure remained for 22 months. The food inflation was as high as 22 percent in February 2010 which has come down to less than 1 percent in December 2011,” he said.
To a question about the “discrimination” with states like Punjab and Haryana after giving tax concessions to other states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Mukherjee said that the experiment had failed as no new investments were made and industry had just shifted from one place to another.