Goa plans interim budget with taxation measures

| 19 March 1998 12:02 IST

Perhaps it's for the first time the tourist state of Goa is presenting an interim budget with taxation measures, without waiting for the central sanction.

The state budgets are gone haywire everywhere with central government still not stabilising in Delhi while the new deputy chairman of the Planning Commission is still unknown. Presenting an interim budget, without any taxation measures, is a normal practice in such situations.

But the Congress government here is running out of patience. Its coffers are practically empty and announcing fresh measures for additional resource mobilisation is inevitable, without waiting to plead its case with the centre for more assistance.

The reasons are primarily two - implementation of the Fifth Pay commission recommendations and unlimited expenditure on its jumbo cabinet of 14 ministers in a 40-member House.

While the new budget would be presented next week, the ongoing Assembly session has seen on its tables yet another statement for supplementary grants, this time to the tune of Rs 242 crore, which is one fifth of its annual expenditure.

While preparing its own budget without consulting the Planning Commission, the state has already prepared the annual plan outlay at Rs 171 crore, around Rs 59 crore less than last year. The central assistance is also fixed at last year's amount of Rs 59.34 crore, without taking into consideration even the normal annual rise.

Though these figures are bound to be raised by the centre later on, chief minister Pratapsing Rane has decided to go ahead with additional resources mobilisation, by announcing new taxes. He has announced long ago that it would be a total revamp of sales tax and excise duty structure.

How this step would benefit the state is still a mystery as the lower amount of sales tax and excise duties on vehicles and liquor in Goa has been a major source of revenue generation for the tourist state, with half of its customers coming from outside the state.

Unlike around 10 to 15 per cent annual rise in central assistance, the tourist state is expecting almost 30 per cent rise this time, around Rs 20 crore, due to additional incentives like share of the VDIS collections, which would amount to around to Rs five crore.

Goa is also eagerly waiting for the BJP-led government to pass the pending legislation, as per which 29 per cent share from the central taxes, including customs and corporation taxes, would go to the states. This would fill the local treasury by additional Rs three crore.

Due to payment of interim relief to around 42,000 government employees in a small state of having hardly 1.2 million population, followed by implementation of Fifth Pay Commission recommendations, its plan expenditure had to be slashed by around 13 per cent last year.

The government employees are on the warpath once again, protesting against haphazard implementation of the commission's report while school teachers also recently boycotted practical examinations for SSC students, demanding implementation of part B of the commission's report.

Bowing down before the pressure, Rane has now assured the ongoing Assembly session to clear all the anomalies before monsoon session begins in July. He is expecting the new BJP-led government to consider Goa's case on sympathetic grounds.

The final plant outlay, to be approved by the PC, would probably help the government from not slashing its plan expenditure further, while implementing part B of the commission's report would also be an easy task.

The state has already implemented part A of the commission report since November, inviting additional burden of Rs 65 crore, though its arrears of Rs 40 crore are impounded in their provident fund account. Implementation of Part B would cost additional Rs 12 crore to the state.

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