Liquor still cheap, but foodstuff made heavy in budget

| 31 March 1998 23:11 IST

Tourists visiting Goa will have to spend little more now, thanks to the fresh hikes in local duties in the annual budget the local Congress government has recently presented.

Liquor is still cheap, but not non-alcoholic drinks or eatables, including ice creams and sweets. Chief minister Pratapsing Rane plans to touch liquor later, if the treasury goes dry once again.

The menu card will be however little heavy, if you want to enjoy the food. The hike in sales tax on all food items ranges between two to four per cent.

The average price in a restaurant will be calculated considering top 15 items on the menu. The tax structure ranges between 4 per cent on each item in a middle-class restaurant to 15 per cent tax on each item where the average price exceeds Rs 120 per dish.

Despite such taxation, the five star tourists may not feel the pinch, as they do not mind spending little more. But it could cost dearly to the upper middle class and higher middle class tourist, fear the hoteliers.

Taxes in hotels charging Rs 25 to Rs 100 for any individual items is eight per cent while it is 12 per cent for the hotels charging between Rs 100 to Rs 200 for any individual item. This may hit several Punjabi and Gujarati restaurants which have mushroomed here, thanks to the North Indian tourists.

In addition, the Goa budget has also brought North Indian favourites like dahi, khava, achar, muramba and farsan under the tax bracket, charging four per cent sales tax while spices like black mustard, coriander, seeds, methi, jeera, khaskhas would also be taxed at the rate of two per cent.

While facing these new taxes, the hoteliers would also be compelled to hike their menu rates due to one or two per cent hike in sales tax on edible oil, vanaspati, ghee, butter etc.

Goa has recently also seen sudden spurt in ready-made cloth shops, including exclusive show rooms of Lee, Lacoste, Levis, Weekender, Reebok, Nike, Adidas, as several tourists also prefer such costly marketing while sunbathing on the beaches. These items either face fresh taxes or a hike today.

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