Monday 18 March 2019

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Economy | Finance

State plans fresh taxation to pay hiked salaries

 

The tourist state of Goa is planning to announce fresh taxation measures to cover the shortfall, thanks to the government decision to implement the fifth pay commission recommendations from next month.

Though a tiny state in size with hardly 12 lakh population, its one fourth budget is spent every year to pay the large number of government employees, around 42,000, at the rate of one employee behind 30 Goans.

Though the state had made a budgetary provision of Rs 70 crore this year, hardly Rs nine crore has remained after paying the interim relief till date. The arrears, to be paid in January next year as decided by the cabinet today, itself would amount to Rs 140 crore.

With the actual implementation beginning next month, the state would have additional financial burden of Rs 52 crore annually, while it has to mobilise additional Rs 24 crore for the next four months, before the new budget is presented. The total additional burden would be thus Rs 164 crore.

However, the state government has struck a deal with the Goa government employees association, as per which arrears only upto Rs 5000 would be paid in cash while the remaining amount would be impounded in the provident fund. This would obviously bring down the immediate burden of arrears to hardly Rs 21 crore.

But additional resource mobilisation is a must, admits chief minister Pratapsing Rane, who has instructed all his departments to suggest ways and means to cover the shortfall. "we will also bring sales tax and excise duties on par with the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka", he disclosed.

How this step would benefit the state is still a mystery as the lower sales tax and excise duties on vehicles and liquor in Goa has been a major source of revenue generation with half of the customers coming from the neighbouring states. The government however seems to be firm on hiking the power tariff to more than double, from the present rate of re one per unit.

Rane however also admits that the recovery of power department, around Rs 30 crore, has been pending for many years, thanks to the nexus between the politicians and big hotels or industries. He has now instructed all the departments to attach their properties if dues are not paid.






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