PANAJI: The opposition Congress party has criticised the budget presented by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, in the state assembly on Monday and said that many of the claims therein about progress achieved over the last one year were difficult to digest as the government has failed to substantiate its claims with believable data.
Participating in the general discussion on the budget on the first day, the Congress legislator from Valpoi, Mr Vishwajit Rane, said that the parivartan (change) that was promised to the Goans by the Bharatiya Janata Party, was for worse and that the party’s government has failed to bring in all round development of the state, which was promised to the people of the state.
Mr Rane also said that the Chief Minister, while participating in the National Development Council meeting in New Delhi, failed to lay out the state’s strategy for the five year of the plan period and instead focused on his budget proposals.
“The Chief Minister did not outline how the government was planning to reduce dependence on mining,” he said adding that while Mr Parrikar spoke about achieving 6 per cent growth in the agriculture sector and the need to convert low end tourism to high end, he did not spell out a strategy.
He said that many of the provisions of the budget were on the unrealistic revenue projections and an over optimistic growth rate at constant prices, even as he went on to add that given the fact that there was lower growth which meant lower tax collection, there would be big shortfall in revenue collection.
Stating that the budget presented by the Chief Minister has indicated that the economic situation of the state was really bad, he further said that the fiscal deficit, which was estimated at Rs 755 crore in the last budget has reached to 1,457 crore, and was spiraling out of control. The fiscal deficit has been estimated at Rs 1,365 crore in the budget for 2013-14.
The Congress legislator further criticised the government for cutting expenditure on social spending by 21 per cent and wondered why the budget for social welfare, nutrition and urban development was slashed. He also said that the Reserve Bank of India has cautioned the state government against borrowings, even as he stated that there was 16 per cent increase in borrowings.
Stating that 6 per cent growth sought to be achieved was difficult to attain unless very concerted efforts were made, he also went on to add that claim of 50 per cent growth in milk production was difficult to believe. He also said that no information has been provided by the government about growth during 2012-13.
Faulting the government strategy in promoting tourism, he said that a totally different approach would have to be followed to bring in quality tourists to the state, even as he urged the government to find ways to diversify from tourism. He also said that some of the provisions aimed at indirect taxation would hurt the common man.
The BJP legislator from Sanguem, Mr Subhash Phal Dessai said that the tourism sector was not in proper shape and that there was need for taking the tourism sector to the hinterland areas to offer more for the tourists. He also listed various grievances pertaining to his constituency.
Mr Michael Lobo, the BJP legislator from Calangute, raised the issue of dog menace and plastic menace across the state, especially along the coastal areas. He demanded the need for construction of garbage treatment plant even as he asked as to how long the cleaning drive initiated by the government would continue.