Sinha learning financial tricks from Goa ?

| 30 July 2001 17:35 IST

With the centre as well as various states in the country struggling hard to manage its economics of revenue and expenditure, union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha now plans to learn the tricks from a tiny coastal state - Goa.

He is coming down here in September, primarily to get a personal feel of how resources are being mobilised without taxing the common man.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the IIT technocrat-turned-politician, is quite happy that he can offer something to the centre and the country with little but impressive experiments he did in this direction. He was in Delhi last week.

"Sinhaji was pleasantly surprised with the way we have increased our revenue generation", said Parrikar proudly. "He is a learned man and I feel happy that Goa can help him in financial matters", he added.

After withdrawing support to the coalition government led by a Congress splinter group and forming a full-fledged BJP government in November by admitting another group of Congress defectors, Parrikar has taken several steps in last eight months to improve Goa's financial position.

Besides cutting down huge size of the administration by offering special VRS scheme, amalgamating departments and adjusting surplus manpower within the administration, Parrikar has also taken firm steps in plugging revenue leakages to large extent.

In the first four months before presenting the budget, he managed to accrue additional Rs 14 crore every month through administrative reforms, plugging revenue leakages and collecting huge amount of arrears with a firm hand.

The budget came as a pleasant shock even to the critiques here, as the normal average additional resource mobilisation of around Rs 20 to 30 crore zoomed up to Rs 152 crore this year, while at least over 20 per cent of it comes through austerity measures alone.

As Goa has large number of pharmaceutical units, Parrikar points out that this sector is luckily not affected with recession world over. Secondly, he has also brought down petroleum prices, which has shown marginal increase in tax collection on petrol in the 'tourist' state.

While laying special emphasis on infrastructure, the plan outlay of education and tourism was increased by three fold. Though the budget provides only Rs 26 crore for infrastructural development, Parrikar has already started working towards roping in around Rs 500 crore for developmental works like roads and bridges, on BOOT and BOLT basis.

The government estimates almost 25 per cent rise in revenue this year through sustainable revenue generation alone while recovery of arrears is still on, without showing any kind of political consideration in this respect.

The jumbo cabinet - of 14 ministers for 1.3 million people spread out only in two districts and 11 talukas - is also immensely happy with the exercise as each department has been allotted more funds, which could be utilised or also misutilised.

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