Panaji, March 29 (PTI) The Goa government on Wednesday presented its budget for 2023-24 proposing to allocate funds to promote tourism in the coastal state, including hinterlands, improve education through reforms and resume mining to shore up revenue.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tabled in the Assembly the budget with a total outlay of Rs 26,844 crore, an increase of 9.71 per cent over the estimates for the financial year 2022-23.
Sawant, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that the total receipts projected show a growth of 12.53 per cent over the previous year.
“Due to the discontinuation of GST compensation, the state will see a revenue deficit of approximately Rs 800 crore through grants from Central Government. This void will be majorly filled by revenue collection from initiatives taken by my government for restarting of mining activities in the state and increase in the share of Goa in Central taxes,” he said.
The budget has announced an allocation of Rs 262.85 crore, an increase of 6.34 per cent over the last year, for the tourism department. Sawant said that the government will encourage caravan tours to encourage tourists to explore Goan hinterlands.
It seeks to reform the educational sector by introducing a Swayampurna (self-reliant) Goa Board.
The CM said the state is expecting the second instalment of the grant of Rs 150 crore of “Goa@60” initiative (to mark the 60 years of Goa’s liberation) from the Centre in 2023-24.
The CM said that due to financial reforms, they have ended up with a revenue surplus of Rs 59.39 crore (2022-23) as against projections of Rs 58.46 crore in FY 2021-22 despite the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the state’s economy.
“For FY 2023-24, the estimated revenue surplus is Rs 669.46 crore,” Sawant said.
The chief minister said that the Government of India has capped the fiscal deficit to GSDP (gross state domestic product) ratio at 3.5 per cent for 2023-24. “Further, the unutilised borrowings of the previous financial year have been allowed to be carried forward as per the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission,” he said.
Considering this, he said, the fiscal deficit is estimated to be Rs 4,183.1 crore.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has proposed to levy a “green” tax for non-Goan vehicles entering the state.
To control revenue leakage, the government has decided to form a special task force to crack down on businesses running without registration, he said.
Sawant thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing an increased special assistance of Rs 571 crore to Goa in FY 2022-23 under the “Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure”.
“Due to the continuation of the scheme in FY 2023-24, I expect that the state will receive similar assistance in the coming financial year which will fast-track infrastructure development in the state,” he said.
The CM said his government has drawn Rs 500 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) at low interest rates for the second consecutive year and received sanctions worth Rs. 745 crore for rural infrastructure development.
“We have also availed ‘Cluster Development Fund’ from SIDBI for the development of MSME-related infrastructure in the state. Projects worth Rs 700 crore have already been sanctioned and we expect to get more Rs 1,000 crore worth of projects sanctioned under this fund,” he said. PTI RPS NR
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