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BUDGET cheers, eyes growth
March, 26th 2010

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat today presented Rs 5.69 crore revenue surplus Budget and harped on PPP (Public Private Participation) mantra for creating infrastructure in the State.

The Budget size for the financial year 2010-11 is proposed at Rs 2550 crore which is an increase of 11.38 % over the last financial year.

In his 65-minute speech, Kamat said that one of the main objectives of the Budget 2010-11 is to achieve a higher GSDP growth rate of at least 12% with greater emphasis on achieving inclusive growth by ascertaining that the fruits of growth and development are equally availed by the less privileged and vulnerable sections of the society.

Besides trying to rejuvenate interest in agriculture and allied sectors, the budget aims at reducing unemployment and giving boost to infrastructure. Interestingly, one of the important objectives is also to provide greater security to tourists visiting the State.

He announced various schemes like health insurance scheme, a new beach safety scheme, golden jubilee scheme of Rs 50 lakh per MLA, setting up of IT knowledge centres, sewerage lines in Porvorim and Navelim, convention centre in the hinterland on PPP basis, creation of a new taluka of Dharbandora, etc.

He has also proposed to decrease the entry fee for land casinos from Rs 2000 to Rs 500.

Kamat also stated that his government would come out with a Vision Document for which a committee headed by highly decorated scientist Dr Raghunath V Mashelkar.

Kamat who is also the States finance minister said the economic slowdown necessitated higher government spending to which the government responded favourably and enhanced the annual plan size substantially by 29% last year of the previous 2008-09 period.

He said the total receipts for the coming financial year would stand at Rs 5877.41 crore and the total expenditure would be Rs 6877.35 crore.

The revenue receipts which primarily consists share in central taxes, grant-in aid from central government and States own tax and non-tax revenue, stand at Rs 4294.20 crore. The revenue deficit of Rs 273.90 crores during 2009-10 would turn into revenue surplus of Rs 5.69 crore during 2010-11.

The estimates for capital expenditure would be to the tune of Rs 1651 crore as against capital receipts of Rs 834.22 crore.
As a result of this, the fiscal deficit during the coming year would be Rs 610.83 crore as against the revised estimate of Rs 820.87 crore during 2009-10.

He said it is a growth-oriented budget with no taxes on the common man. It is in keeping with the line of Union Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with thrust on agriculture and infrastructure.

In his post budget press conference, Kamat said Everybody believes India has a lot of scope in the agriculture sector and somehow we have to bring the younger generation to agriculture, he said.

Moreover, my budget also lays thrust on improving infrastructure in our colleges, which need to be upgraded, Kamat said adding, I have made provision to improve the infrastructure in all colleges starting with Quepem and Sanquelim government colleges.

Besides the government colleges, we will also give soft loan to the private colleges, who have catered to the needs of thousands of students, he said adding the soft loan can give them a boost.

Further, he continued, as we are entering the golden jubilee, the government has decided to prepare a vision document where we should be by 2050.

I have already spoken to Dr Mashelkar in this regard, who has already written a book India 2039 and agreed to my request, he said.

Also we need to do a lot more in the IT sector as people should be able to sit at home and file an application in department and pay taxes, bills etc, he stated adding I have spoken to some experts who will also prepare a plan to make this possible.

Asked for the reason for scrapping the Cyberage scheme, he replied, Over 1 lakh families already have computers under scheme.

We have instead decided to give 10 computers to each school so that the students whenever free would be able to use them, he said.

On the Rs 50 lakh allotted to each MLA, he said, it will help them to carry out work in their constituencies.

Asked about the increase in water tariff, he said, This is because the tariff is very low compared to other States and the cost of treating the water is many a times more and it was necessary to increase the rates.

It will take at least two-three months for the new rates to be implemented, he said.

To a query on professional tax, he said that the proposal has been deferred and the Bill will be brought in the Goa assembly in the next session.

The CM said he was a worried lot earlier in the financial year as the measures taken had not clicked for revenue generation. But thanks to the Union Minister for Mines that the royalty on ad valerum ore, Goa got nearly Rs 220 crore.

Finance Secretary Uddipta Ray, Joint Secretary (Budget) B Sherkhane were also present for the press conference along with other senior officers.

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