CM announces populist schemes



Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday presented the state budget for the year 2016-17 sized at Rs 14,694.17 crore, as against the previous budget of Rs 13,331.44 crore, showing an increase of 9.06 per cent.
“The growth rate of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), which slowed down because of the ban on mining to 4.17 per cent in 2012-13, has picked up to 7.71 per cent in 2013-14,” Parsekar stated, adding that the GSDP in 2015-16 at current price is estimated at Rs 60,894.83 crore. “The GSDP at current prices for the fiscal 2016-17 is estimated at Rs 70,400.03 crore thereby reflecting a growth rate of approximately 10 per cent,” he added.
The second consecutive budget presented by Parsekar is Rs 158 crore surplus budget based on the presumption that the government exchequer would earn Rs 453 crore by way of the mining royalty. The government has managed to control the fiscal deficit to 2.84 per cent, not allowing it to touch the 3 per cent mark, while the Additional Revenue Mobilisation (ARM) is placed at Rs 382 crore in the annual financial statement.
“The government has increased the Value Added Tax on petrol from existing 15 per cent to 22 per cent while ensuring that the rate per litre of petrol would be in the range of Rs 55 per litre,” Parsekar, who holds the finance portfolio stated, noting that if required, this rate would be appropriately revised not to exceed the petrol price as on April 2, 2012. The government proposes to earn an estimated Rs 80 crore by way of hike in the VAT over petrol in the state.
“The estimated debt-GSDP ratio stands at 17.07 per cent for the fiscal 2016- 17,” the Chief Minister stated while presenting the final budget of the present government, further pointing out that this is within the ceiling of 25 per cent prescribed by the Goa Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, and therefore debt availed by the state is within sustainable limits. “The state has never defaulted in debt repayment,” he mentioned.
“In spite of reduced fiscal space, our government has been discharging its primary expenditure responsibilities,” Parsekar said, adding, “The reduced fiscal space made our government prioritise its expenditure. Our priorities are expenditure in the social, educational, health, housing, employment and infrastructure sectors,” he noted.
Delivering his near two-and-a-half hour budget speech, the Chief Minister said that he proposes a plan capital outlay of Rs 4,008.05 crore for the current fiscal as against Rs 3,623.74 crore during the last financial year, 2015-16, showing an increase of 10.61 per cent. “I propose to complete the ongoing major infrastructure capital works during the current fiscal,” he maintained.
“While making the budget provision, I have tried to keep the increase in essential revenue expenditure at bare minimum,” Parsekar stated, stressing, “However my government has not compromised on the implementation of its socio-economic schemes and the creation of assets through capital works.”
“The state government has adopted a prudent fiscal policy and kept the deficit and debt stock, related to GSDP, at a sustainable level,” he maintained, observing that as per the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimates for the year 2013-14, Goa’s per capita income at current prices was Rs 2,57,490, which is highest in the country.
It was also informed that when the present government took over the administration in 2012, it had to settle outstanding pending bills of Rs 1,500 crore of the previous government, and further had to face a revenue loss of around Rs 1,300 crore per year, due to the mining closure in 2012.