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Promises in additional budget
July, 25th 2009

In a mood for promises, chief minister Digambar Kamat announced a sea link connecting Dona Paula with Vasco and a second bridge over the Zuari.

Making an additional budget speech in the legislative assembly on Friday, Kamat proposed that the new Zuari bridge be "the golden jubilee bridge in Goa's 50th year of liberation".

Later speaking to the media Kamat said, "We have infrastructure schemes like the Dona Paula-Vasco sea link. We have also tried to touch the hearts of the parents of differently abled and special children."

The chief minister also announced Rs eight crore for phase two of the beach safety programme and another Rs three crore for the beach cleaning scheme. He also plans to introduce a single window clearance system for speedy disposal for applications for setting up new industrial units in Goa.

Kamat said the interim budget presented in March 2009 and the vote on account taken was to allow the government carry on business for the first five months of the current fiscal year. The earlier budget did not include new development schemes, nor tax proposals due to the then prevailing election model code of conduct.

Kamat said the additional budget had tried to raise more revenue and bring in new schemes without burdening the common man. "You must note that although we have announced many new schemes, we have made financial provision for all these schemes," Kamat said.

The chief minister said the average GSDP (gross state domestic product) growth rate of over 12% led to an increase of the GSDP from Rs 15,023.34 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 16,901.26 crore in 2007-08 at current prices. Despite the economic slowdown, the state's tax collection has been to the tune of Rs 2,108.99 crore in 2008-09 as compared to Rs 1,752.64 crore during 2007-08.

Kamat said, "Government has decided to enhance public spending to stimulate growth on one hand and on the other create an environment conducive for private capital participation in projects to be taken up on a public private participation format. We will formulate a comprehensive PPP policy, including a new Viability Gap Funding Scheme, on the lines of the central government scheme. We intend to develop several infrastructure projects on PPP basis."

Finance department officials explained that the estimated expenditure on new schemes and projects require an additional provision of Rs 119.77 crore whereas the additional revenue that is estimated to be collected amounts to Rs 516.40 crore. This will revise the plan size to Rs 1,993.77 crore (including public sector undertakings and local bodies) and total revenue expenditure to Rs 4,605.90 crore and total revenue receipts to Rs 4,587.15 crore.

The revenue deficit would thus get revised downward to Rs 18.75 crore instead of earlier estimated Rs 348.40 crore. Similarly, the fiscal deficit would also get revised downward to Rs 482.54 crore from its earlier estimates of Rs 812.19 crore, finance department officials said.

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