With eye on the state polls next in less than a year, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar who also holds the finance portfolio announces slew of populist schemes in his ‘Budget’ proposal for 2016-17. However for the tourists, visiting the holiday destination is likely to be dearer.
In his statement while projecting the budget outlay at Rs. 14,694.17 crore, the Chief Minister said that it was a revenue surplus budget of Rs. 158.82 crore, with annual earning estimated at Rs. 10,641.96 crores and expenditure of Rs. 10,483.14 crores. Parsekar said that the budget prioritised its expenses on improving social, educational, health, housing, employment and infrastructure sectors.
Besides announcing the constitution of Goa Staff Selection Commission for non-gazetted employment of C and D category, Parsekar also suggested that the state government will increase the age limit for government job aspirants from 40 to 45 years. “There are many who solely want to work for the government, we need to give priority to them irrespective of their age. Moreover a 40-year old will have better experience in comparison to his younger counterpart in his 20’s,” Parsekar said. The Chief Minister in his proposal also said that he would make budgetary provision for the implementation of 7th pay commission in the state.
To put down the local unrest on removal of coconut tree from the list of ‘protected’ trees, the CM said that at the cost of Rs. 25 lakhs a full-fledged Coconut Development Board would be put in place headed by Coconut Farmer or an expert. He added that the political opponents were targeting his government unnecessarily by speculating on non-existent issues. He added that further it would be mandatory to seek NOC from the agriculture department to cut coconut trees. The government also announced the enhancement of support price for Coconut increased from Rs 8 to Rs 10 per coconut.
Parsekar said that the government is in the process of identifying and acquiring land for IIT, Goa at the cost of Rs. 10 crore. The state government will also take up setting-up of IFFI-Secretariat on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis with a token provision of amount of Rs. 1 crore.
With a seed capital capital funding of upto Rs. 50 Lakh for start-up’s, the government will target 100 such start ups and invest through Investment Promotion Board (IPB). It has set aside Rs. 15 crore for the purpose.
On taxation front the Parsekar government has hiked the VAT on Motor Spirit (Petrol) from 15 % to 22 %. However, he assured that the price will be capped at Rs. 55 per litre. Further the state VAT over Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) has been enhanced from 12.5 per cent to 18 per cent.
While the luxury tax on hotel stay is reduced from 60 percent to 25 percent during offseason between June to September. The Chief Minister said in light of several e-portals marketing less than Rs. 1000 to avoid luxury tax of incidence, the state government in its budget has proposed to levy luxury tax of 6 percent for room tariffs beyond Rs. 750, above Rs. 3000 at the rate of 9 percent for upto per night stay of Rs. 5000.
Entry fee for Casinos has been enhanced from of Rs 700 to Rs 1000 per person. Ticketing through electronic devices will be mandated to ensure transparency and accountability, he said. Parsekar later told in a press conference that it is the well-off, who are going to be the customers of Casino’s and the enhanced hike would not matter much to them.
The government will also make necessary amendments to remove Feni from ‘Liquor’ category and place it as a Heritage drink, since it has medicinal and other values. The state will reduce 5 percent of VAT on Feni to support local producers. On the other hand the state proposes substantial increase of tax on transportation of liquor from the state and its import, even introducing slabs for obtaining quantities beyond prescribed norms and its purchase beyond specified time.
The government will also soon notify spaces and public areas were consumption of liquor will not be allowed. “This is to prevent nuisance of littering liquor bottles and beer cans and to ensure peaceful order,” Parsekar said.
Besides levying Rs. 15,000 on each water sports vessel, the government also proposes to regulate operators conducting pleasure trips by charging them additional fees of Rs 20,000/- per vessel, in both the cases the operators are likely to pass on the additional expense on the users.
On Mining front Parsekar said that all forms of tax to the sector have been reduced by nearly 90 per cent to boost the industry.
The proposed budget is likely to passed by the Goa Assembly in the month of July.