Goa demands 50 % weightage for performance criteria

| 18 September 1998 11:59 IST

Development of the tourist state of Goa, especially in the infrastructural sector, appears bleak in the near future unless the central authorities give more weightage to the performance criteria while allocating central assistance to the states.

The Gadgil Mukherjee formula has affected the state's financial position drastically since its criteria, which actually benefited only the bigger underdeveloped states, turned down the optimistic picture of socio-economic scene of the youngest state of the country.

After being the union territory for three decades since its liberation in 1961, almost 14 years after India got independence, Goa was granted statehood in 1987 by former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi. Still the state was managing well with its meagre resource base, till the Gadgil Mukherjee formula was applied in 1991-92.

Due to altogether different criteria, Goa was deprived of over 60 per cent of central assistance the youngest state was getting. The blind application of the formula came as a slap on the face of the tourist state, which had made remarkable progress in a short span of time, especially in controlling its population, widespread literacy drive and being the state having one of the highest per capita income.

But the new formula cut down Goa's assistance by giving 85 per cent weightage for the per capita income while only 7.5 per cent for the performance-related criteria. Similarly, the devolution formula adopted by the Tenth Finance Commission has 70 per cent weightage for population and per capita income.

As a result, Goa's quantum of central assistance reduced drastically, from Rs 110 crore in 90-91 to Rs 42 crore in 91-92. Since then, Goa has not witnessed any upward trend in central assistance, but came down to 22 per cent till last year. The fifth pay commission recommendation has come as a final blow, which has practically ruined the financial condition of the small state.

Chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza has now once again made a fervent plea at the chief ministers' meet held last week to drastically amend the existing formula, giving at least 50 per cent weightage to the performance-related criteria. "There needs to be healthy balance between efficiency and equity", he says.

Goa is the only small state among the nine ones in the country, states K R V S Chalam, the planning and statistics director, who gets lowest amount of central assistance unlike the rest ones, whose assistance ranges between 62 per cent to 103 per cent, due to special status granted to them.

Though the demand to grant special status to Goa has been turned down by the central authorities consistently, the state government is now demanding at least 10 per cent allocation from the discretionary quota of the Planning Commission, besides the regular assistance, to build infrastructure for the tourist state.

"Whether one person walks or one lakh people, the construction cost of the bridge is the same", quips one senior bureaucrat here. He also points out that Goa has been contributing around Rs 1000 crore annually in terms of foreign exchange, through mining and tourism, while it is severely lacking in proper infrastructure.

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