Two-tier policy to overcome debt trap

| 15 November 1998 11:49 IST

Goa has decided to adopt a policy at two levels to overcome its financial crunch, by raising funds through borrowings as well as by strengthening the local revenue generation.

Major thrust seems to have been given on external commercial borrowings from NRIs, besides getting additional amount of SLR-based loan from the centre. A proposal to get Rs 100 crore more is already being processed by the union finance ministry, informs chief minister Wilfred de Souza.

On the lines of such a loan, which has a 10 - year moratorium period for repayment, de Souza is on a lookout for a better deal with any NRI, who can offer a loan of around Rs 150 crore at the interest rate as low as six per cent.

The non-Congress coalition government led by de Souza, a Congressman till yesterday, has also decided to target all-powerful mining industry in the tourist state for local revenue generation. The mining lobby, which controls any government that comes to power, is found to have been not paying taxes in a proper manner.

Going against the contention of the Goa Mineral Ore Owners Association, the new government raided several mines last month to find unregistered heavy machinery, categorising it as vehicles. While Rs 60 lakh has already been collected at the rate of Rs 33,000 per vehicle, the transport department expects at least Rs 70 lakh more by completing its registration process.

Following this, de Souza has also noted that the mining industry has been not paying its royalty amount in toto. Quoting the supreme court order in Bihar case, the government has now decided to collect royalty on the quantity of ore-mixed mud extracted from the ground. "It would add at least Rs 20 crore to our treasury", says de Souza.

Noticing high level corruption at the six border outposts adjoining Maharashtra and Karnataka, de Souza has also ordered a unique way of three department officials of the excise, police and transport departments on one table under one roof. He is confident that this would reduce the extent of underhand dealing while increasing the amount of revenue, around lakhs of rupees everyday.

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