Thursday 03 December 2020

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Economy | Finance

Tourists targeted for surplus budget

 

Giving big boost to the computer software and cell phone industry, the Goa government has presented a surplus budget, which would cost Goans as well as the tourists visiting the state.

Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane, while presenting the budget subject to final approval from the Planning Commission, has granted sales tax exemption to all computer software packages along with eco-friendly products based on renewable fibres like jute, coir and bagasse.

Sales tax on cell phones, car and mobile phones and pagers has also been slashed by 10 per cent while six per cent reduction has been announced on computer consumable. The Congress government however has hiked sales tax duties and also brought several consumable items like dahi, farsan, achar and muramba, baby food, hosiery, ready-made garments etc under the tax bracket.

In order to discourage ghutka consumption among school children, Rane however has imposed cent per cent sales tax on it, as it is not possible to ban its sale. A bill to ban ghutka consumption, passed by the Assembly six months ago, is still pending before the central government.

While several restaurants, especially serving Punjabi and Gujarati food, are mushrooming in the tourist state, the government has restructured sale of cooked food and non-alcoholic drinks in hotels, by imposing different slabs of sales tax on 15 high priced items in the menu card.

Going against the tradition, the Congress government however has not touched the excise duty structure this time, applying to various liquor products. "We will consider it in the course of the financial year at a later stage", says Rane.

The additional resources mobilisations is planned at Rs 7.91 crore while the overall deficit comes to only Rs 5.22 crore, showing a surplus of Rs 2.69 crore.

Pending final approval from the planning commission, the government has presented a plan outlay of Rs 271.34 crore, increasing it by 34 per cent. It also includes plans to raise extra-budgetary resources through negotiated loans and infrastructure bonds to the tune of Rs 152.81 crore.

The revenue expenditure of the tiny tourist state has increased by 23 per cent, showing the figure of Rs 985.99 crore. The prime reason for it is the implementation of fifth pay recommendations, which would cost the state treasury to the tune of Rs 130 crore, almost 13 per cent of the expenditure.

Rane admits that the financial strain has come mainly due to the implementation of the fifth pay commission recommendations for around 42,000 government employees in Goa, which is having a highest ratio of one employee after 28 Goans.


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