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Hard-pressed state seeks package from Centre



Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday sought from the Centre one-time financial package for the state through budgetary allocations so as to bridge the  revenue gap that has emerged due to the mining closure.

Sawant, who also holds finance portfolio, represented the state at a  pre-budget consultations meeting held in New Delhi on Friday. The meeting was chaired  by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Chief Secretary Parimal Rai also attended the meeting.

Presenting the state’s demands before the Centre, Sawant said the mining industry had been contributing nearly Rs 1,500 crore every  year as direct share and Rs 500 crore every  year as indirect share.

He pointed out that the mining ban has entailed a gap of nearly Rs 2,000 crore annually to the state: the state government has been giving  financial aid to support mining dependent people.

Till date the state government has incurred an expenditure of nearly Rs 300 crore on various schemes implemented to support those affected by the mining closure.

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Sawant said that he apprised the Centre of Goa’s financial situation and vulnerabilities of the mining dependent people vis-à-vis the ban on iron ore operations imposed by the Supreme Court order.

“I informed the Centre as how the government has been supporting the mining dependent people through various schemes, and sought a special financial package,” he added.

The Chief Minister also requested Sitharaman to consider providing an annual special financial package to boost infrastructure for the hinterland tourism, for an initial period of five years.

Pointing out that beach tourism may reach a stage of saturation in near future, Sawant stressed that promotion  of hinterland tourism like agro-eco-rural tourism will form an integral part of a  tourism development plan.

He  also sought a land acquisition package for expressway from the NH 66 point to the Mopa airport.

The other demands  made  were  exemption of export duty for high-grade Goa iron ore up to 60 per cent  Fe (fine and lumps) and also a  share for the state in  value-added tax as regards the GAIL piped gas.

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