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Another 'please all' Budget from office executives
March, 26th 2010

Digambar Kamat on Thursday played everybody's favourite uncle coming home with lots of goodies. From students to job seekers, entrepreneurs to legislators, he sought to keep all happy with his highly populist Budget.

The only major tax proposals that will affect the general public are a proposed revision in the water tarrif, which he said was anyway lower in Goa than in other states, and an increase in the excise charged on IMFL.

As if seeking to underline the celebratory mood of the golden jubilee of Liberation, Kamat repeatedly compared current figures of various indices to the year 1961.

Proposing an annual plan size of Rs 2,550 crore for 2010-11 (an increase of 11.38% over 2009-10), Kamat described his budget as "growth oriented", with "more thrust on agriculture and infrastructure".

He said the Rs 2,550 crore figure was "very conservative" and that with the announcement of the Central budget, he expected the financial resource to be around Rs 2,852 crore given the increase in the share in central taxes from Rs 480 crore to Rs 556.79 crore. Besides, a grant of Rs 200 crore has been announced for Goa in the Union budget towards Goa's golden jubilee celebration, he said.

He said the total receipts during 2010-11 would stand at Rs 5877.41 crore and expenditure would be 6877.35 crore. Revenue receipts, primarily comprising shares in central taxes and grants, will be Rs 4294.20 crore as against a revenue expenditure of Rs 4293.63 crore.

As a result, the revenue deficit of Rs 273.90 crore during 2009-10 would turn into a revenue surplus of Rs 5.69 crore, he said. Kamat presented the estimates for capital expenditure at Rs 1,651 crore as against a receipt of Rs 834.22 crore.

Hence, the deficit during 2010-11 would be Rs 610.83 crore as against the revised estimate of Rs 820.87 crore during 2009-10. The primary deficit will turn into a primary surplus of Rs 36.82 crore, he said.

Among his major announcements were a development fund of Rs 50 lakh for each constituency, formation of a new 12th taluka of Dharbandora, doubled plan outlay for agriculture, a 2000-strong security force of Goan youth for industrial and public security and another 1000-strong security force of Goan youth for tourist security.

He also announced the formation of a golden jubilee development vision council to be headed by Dr R Mashelkar and will chart the course for the next 40 years for Goa.

The plan allocation for agriculture was increased from the present 2% of the total outlay to 4%. A provision of Rs 46.22 crore was made for agriculture alone for 2010-11 as compared to Rs 18.62 crore for 2009-10. "It is a rise of 148% more than last year's," Kamat said.

In a bid to boost industry and free land for new industries, the government will set up a task force to identify industrial plots which are unutilized or underutilized for the last two years. Ways will then be devised to takeover and reutilize these plots. Another strategy is to release land under SEZs for which no notification was issued, Kamat said.

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