Salaries to eat up central aid

| 03 June 1998 12:01 IST

The BJP-led government's new policy towards central assistance to the states is definitely a sigh of relief for a tiny state of Goa, which is presently undergoing acute financial crisis.

The additional benefit would be at least 50 per cent more than what it had anticipated. But the funds would be once again exhausted in paying salaries to the government employees and not to build the infrastructure the state is badly in need of.

To overcome the crisis, the state authorities are now planning to request the Planning Commission to shell out part of the deputy chairman's discretionary quota of 10 per cent, to build the necessary infrastructure for the state.

While presenting the annual budget in March, chief minister Pratapsing Rane had anticipated additional Rs 30 crore this year, pending a meeting with the Planning Commission. But union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha's new policy would probably help Goa in getting around Rs 45 crore.

With the BJP-led central government accepting the Tenth Finance Commission recommendations, disbursement of share from central taxes has been now hiked to 29 per cent after including corporate tax and customs duties into it, besides the arrears since January '96.

While Goa had anticipated around Rs 21 crore from the share of direct taxation measures, it would now get Rs 14 crore from the arrears of two years, besides Rs 16 crore approximately, which is yet to be calculated, with a new policy towards share of central taxes.

The state budget had also anticipated around 15 per cent rise in last year's central allocation of Rs 59.34 crore, anticipating additional Rs nine crore. But with the union finance minister announcing 25 per cent additional assistance, the figure has jumped to Rs 15 crore.

However, the additional amount of funds may not benefit any developmental plans in the tourist state, which is lacking in terms of infrastructure, due to Rane's decision also to implement Part B of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations during this year.

Large number of government employees, around 42000 in the 1.2 million-strong state, has today become a white elephant in Goa. The local Congress government has already implemented Part A of the commission in toto, shelling out 23 per cent of the revenue expenditure, to the tune of Rs 130 crore.

Due to heavy pressures from the remaining sections, Rane has now also agreed to implement Part B, which would cost additional Rs 12 crore every year. The additional amount of funds from the centre, around Rs 15 crore, would be thus used for this purpose.

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