Sensing growing resentment against its December 30 deadline to make Goa a cashless state, Chief Minster Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday made a climbdown, saying no timeframe could be imposed to implement such transactions. “I have asked the state commercial tax department to clarify on the issue (of cashless transaction). It cannot be made compulsory so they (the department) would clarify about it. I have been talking about it since two-three days,” Parsekar told reporters in Panaji.
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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Parsekar had chaired a meeting last week asking bankers to educate vendors, hawkers and other business community on how to execute cashless transactions. The CM had earlier set a deadline of December 30 for achieving cashless transactions, inviting criticism from opposition Congress as well as from within the saffron party. “There cannot be a deadline to go cashless. I have always said that it is not cashless, but could be less cash to start with. Goa can do it,” Parsekar said.
He dismissed reports that the state government will penalise those who failed to shift to cashless mode before the stipulated timeframe. “If anyone can have cashless transaction, they should have. We will pat the back of those who implement the cashless concept but if they could not, that does not mean we will be penalising them,” the BJP leader clarified.
Parsekar said the transactions could be conducted through mobile phones. “Youths in Goa are technology savvy. Considering all these factors Goa can be the first cashless state,” he added. The BJP-led state government had drawn flak over the move, with Congress terming the cashless push as a “doom” for the coastal state, which earns significant revenue from tourism.
Goa unit BJP general secretary Sadanand Tanawade on Tuesday asked the government to refrain from forcing the people to have cashless transactions within a stipulated deadline. The state goes to polls in 2017.