Panaji: The Goan industry on Thursday requested the 15th Finance Commission to provide it special grants to build infrastructure primarily for rejuvenation of the local trade and business.
In its memorandum to the Commission, the industry sought a larger share of the central funds. The special grant requirement of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), which submitted a representation to members of the Finance Commission, is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore.
The trade representative body requested the Finance Commission to recommend the special grants to offset the degradation in infrastructure, caused by migrant population from other states. To strengthen its case, the GCCI pointed out that the state needs to be rewarded with suitable grants to meet its developmental needs, as it adopted a prudent fiscal policy and kept the deficit and debt vis-à-vis the GSDP at sustainable level in the face of mining industry closure.
Further, the memorandum said that the state’s high per capita income is not reflected at the ground level, as the income level of an average Goan is quite low and large sections are poor due to the high cost of living.
The memorandum said that the manufacturing sector has been stagnant for the last few years and no fresh investment has been coming into the state despite the setting up of Investment Promotion Board. “Although the state has been presenting surplus budgets, its market borrowings are on the rise. In the last nine months of the current financial year, the state borrowed Rs 2,081 crore at the rate of Rs 231 crore a month,” it said.
Of the Rs 2,500 crore special grant for industrial infrastructure, the GCCI has sought Rs 1,000 crore for the Goa electricity department, to construct new substations and transmission towers for stability of the power system. The GCCI has sought Rs 300 crore for constructing fire hydrant network in industrial estates and Rs 200 crore for the PWD for laying a raw water pipeline and related infrastructure like storage tanks and pumping stations to meet the water needs of the industry. A Rs 1,000-crore special grant has been sought for the tourism sector for the specific purpose of setting up a convention centre.
President of GCCI Manoj Caculo and former president Sandip Bhandare met the members of the Finance Commission in the afternoon to submit the memorandum.
Members of the Commission are meeting all stakeholders before arriving at a decision on the state’s fund requirement from the Centre.