Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar flew straight from Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai to Dabolim airport on Thursday morning to table the Goa budget, taking his party colleagues and allies by surprise. Till early morning, it was believed that Sudin Dhavalikar, who was earlier appointed as leader of the House, would table the budget. But by 11 am, news had reached the House that Parrikar was on his way from Mumbai, where he was being treated for “inflamed pancreas”.
The CM was discharged Thursday a week after his hospitalisation in Mumbai, following which he flew to Goa, accompanied by his son and a personal staffer. After a brief stopover at his residence at noon, Parrikar’s convoy reached the Assembly at 2.30 pm, where he took a cabinet meeting before walking into the floor of the House with his budget briefcase.
He read a two-page budget speech. “Speaker sir, with all humility and with the support, prayers and well wishes of not only honourable members of this house but lakhs of my Goan brothers and sisters, including leaders of various communities, religion, I stand before this august House with renewed strength to present the annual financial statement of 2018-19,” said Parrikar.
“Sir, my health status has prevented me from preparing a detailed budget speech outlining the achievements policies and new schemes of this government. However, by the end of financial year 2018, I would be implementing in parts the new schemes and measures for revenue generation which involve rationalisation of and creation of new fees and taxes.”
Parrikar’s speech, which lasted less than six minutes, saw him present Rs 17,123 crore proposed expenditure, with a Rs 548.89 crore commitment to local employment in sectors like industry and information technology. The tax revenue stood at Rs 8,257.25 crore, he read, adding that the state’s share of central taxes has gone up by 17 per cent compared to last year. The non-tax revenue is expected to be Rs 2,869.33 crore.
After the budget was tabled, Speaker Pramod Sawant thanked the CM and appealed to everyone to let him return to rest as he was not well, and the House was adjourned. Soon after he left for his residence, in a note distributed by the CMO, Parrikar said he was “overwhelmed of love and affection” and the “messages, letters and prayers at various temples, churches, mosques” sent for his well-being.
“It fortifies my conviction that Goa and Goans are my extended family. It is your wishes and prayers which helped me recover speedily and return to Goa. I reiterate my commitment to serve the state and the nation today and always forever indebted. For complete recovery, I have been advised by the doctors some precautions in the immediate short term. During the period my interaction with the public will be limited. However, I will be discharging my regular duties and obligations as CM.”
Parrikar’s appearance in the House largely dictated the events of the day. It started with security being called in and separate briefings to media and legislature on the decorum to be maintained during the CM’s arrival. The media was again briefed to maintain distance, and the corridor the CM was to take to the floor of the House was sanitised. MLAs, too, were told to keep a good distance from the CM, as instructed by doctors at Lilavati, for fear of infection.
After the Assembly ended, Parrikar told reporters, “Nothing is wrong with me. I have been asked not to maintain close contact.”
MLA Nilesh Cabral said, “He arranged the flight himself… only to show the people of Goa that he is a fighter.” Doctors reiterated that Parrikar was responding to the treatment at Lilavati. The hospital refrained from commenting on his future line of treatment.
Inputs from Mumbai