Goa demands 'special bonus'

| 03 September 2001 17:32 IST

Having surpassed achievement in most of the 12 key indicators set by the Planning Commission determining quality of life, Goa has now urged the centre to grant 'special bonus' to such performing states rather than punishing them.

"Rather than simply creating a special category status for a few privileged states, I have suggested to categorise all the states based on performance and help them accordingly", said chief minister Manohar Parrikar, after returning from the National Development Council meeting in Delhi.

He was feeling proud that Goa is the only state in the country which could pose itself as a model state, having achieved almost all the targets including higher GSDP than tenth plan proposal of 8 per cent GDP growth.

He has also suggested at the NDC meet that the centre should set different targets for smaller states like Goa, while also rewarding for their performance. On the contrary, the existing Gadgil-Mukherjee formula punishes the performing states by reducing their central assistance, he points out.

Placing before the NDC meet chaired by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last week facts and figures, Parrikar stated that Goa is among the top three states in terms of literacy and infant mortality rate and fourth most favoured destination for private investment.

While spending only 0.55 per cent on revenue collection, he said the state has generated 40 per cent more revenue since April while plugging almost all the loopholes and tightening tax administration.

Though the tiny state is also having largest number of government employees in the country, he plans to reduce the staff by five per cent by March by extending the unique VRS scheme further, now with income tax exemption.

According to Parrikar, the NDC will also debate in the next meeting scheduled in Bangalore upon his proposal to cancel all the centrally sponsored schemes and allocate those funds to the states to spend on core sectors of each state, as per their practical needs.

Based on a support he claims of having received from almost all the states, Goa's chief minister expects to finalise details of the proposal he has made in this regard. According to him, either the funds sent by the centre sometimes go back unutilised or the staff appointed for the fixed period becomes redundant after the scheme expires.

As Goa is having excellent track record in educational field, he feels central schemes like operation blackboard, anganwadi or adult education became impractical while lots of funds sent for agro development were sent back due to geographical factors.

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