Reach XI, Computer Free !

| 14 May 2002 17:25 IST

Every student in Goa will be now able to take home a computer almost free once he reaches standard XI, thanks to the special budgetary provision announced by chief minister Manohar Parrikar, while presenting the annual budget today.

Calling it a Cyberage Student scheme, the Bharatiya Janata Party government has made a budgetary provision of over Rs 10 crore, covering around 11,000 students every year. The scheme however would begin with only science stream students this year, to be extended to all the streams from the next year.

The budget of Rs 3024 crore has this time given special thrust on education, sports, art and culture, announcing several schemes. It also includes setting up of Sangeet Academy in memory of Gantapaswini Mogubai Kurdikar, the great Goan artist, in view of producing more Lata Mangeshkars and Kishori Amonkars and making Goans proud of their cultural talent.

Perhaps this is the first budget where the existing excise structure has been left untouched. According to Parrikar, consistency and stability rather than increased rates would ensure better collection of revenue from the liquor sector.

"Though liquor is often associated with instability, the excise policy pursued by me has remained as stable as my government", commented Parrikar in a lighter vein, while reading out the budget in the House.

The chief minister has however modified the existing structure of sales tax, luxury tax and entry tax, besides taking steps to increase the non-tax revenue. The total additional resource mobilisation has thus been Rs 330 crore, while showing budget deficit of only Rs 2.73 crore.

The BJP government has also assured to prepare a comprehensive industrial policy by August, listing out different sectors in the green, orange and red categories. Stating that not a single industry in the red category will be allowed in the tourist state, the budget also announces several subsidy schemes for setting up industries in interior villages, category-wise.

Besides making major budgetary provision for creating infrastructural facilities like roads, bridges, transport, power and even beach safety arrangements, the budget proposes to create a corpus fund for marketing Goa with private participation. The government plans to contribute double the amount of contribution received from the private sector.

While tall claims have been made by all the governments in the past to develop eco-tourism and adventure tourism in the state by exploring the interior of the tourist state, Parrikar has now created separate fund for the purpose, so that it is not diverted towards beach tourism.

As no investment is attracted in the information technology sector so far, Parrikar has assured to present a comprehensive IT policy in the next session, assuring several tax exemptions, subsidies, incentives as well as basic requirements like connectivity and lease rentals.

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