March 25, 2021 5:33:52 am
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Wednesday announced the establishment of a state mining corporation, subsidy in the landing and parking fees for chartered flights to draw international tourists, and completion a greenfield airport at Mopa by August next year as he presented the budget in the Assembly. The budget also announced a stray cattle management scheme for Gaushalas, a new Feni policy to promote the drink as Goa’s ‘heritage spirit’, and the pursuit of a GI-tag for Coconut Feni and popular dessert Bebinca, among other things.
The Goa government, reeling under a direct annual revenue loss of Rs 600 crore, had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against a ban on mining imposed in 2018. Sawant said in his budget speech that his government is committed to restarting mining in Goa “…to promote ease of doing business and to ensure a seamless process for grant of quarrying leases for minor minerals my government shall bring amendments to the Goa Minor Mineral Concession rules, 1985.”
Sawant said the net expenditure for 2021-22 was estimated at Rs 21,646.68 crores, an increase of 12.8 per cent over previous year. He said revenue receipts are estimated to increase at 16.39 per cent over last year due to greater central assistance in the current fiscal.
Emerging from the pandemic, Sawant said his government had set aside Rs 1,719.89 crore for the health sector, a jump of 19.60 per cent over last year.
He also allotted Rs 100 crore for MLA Local Area Development funds and Rs 10 crore for Gaushalas managing stray cattle, “I will also take steps to make these Gaushalas self-sufficient,” said Sawant.
He said Rs 5 crore had been allotted to the Tourism Trade Support Scheme to support the sector battered by the pandemic by extending interest subvention on working capital loans up to Rs 25 lakh. This would aid about 2,000 registered hotels, accommodations and tour operators in the state, he said.
Another Rs 5 crore had been set aside to “to reduce the burden on chartered flights by bearing a part of parking and landing fees at Dabolim International Airport”. For the construction sector, that was also hit by the pandemic, Sawant announced that the government intends to reduce the Infrastructure Tax by 30 percent for six months from April 1.
The Mukhyamantri Devdarshan Scheme was also announced for senior citizens to visit pilgrimage sites across religions for which a provision of Rs 2.5 crore was made. The Goa government had tied up with IRCTC to enable senior citizens to visit shrines of their choice, Sawant said.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar called it a “Gajani (Ghajini) Style” budget. He said that Sawant had forgotten the announcements made by his government earlier. “Also encroached into Central Govt Projects. Crores Jumalas galore (sic), once again taking forward fakeism,” Chodankar tweeted.
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