The Goa budget 2013-14, likely to be presented in the state legislative assembly on March 18, in all probability would be anything but a populist budget like the one presented by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, last year.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, speaking to The Navhind Times said the financial statement for the next year will concentrate on revenue generation as well as give weightage to the employment generation.
“In fact, the efforts for employment generation have already started last December,” he informed, pointing out, “However, the economic scenario in Goa by way of closure of the mining industry could not be predicted, and hence there was no provision in the last budget, in this direction.”
The budget for the next financial year is expected to be placed between ` 9,000 crore and ` 10,000 crore. It may even just cross ` 10,000-crore mark. The budget for the year 2012-13 was sized ` 9,549 crore as against that for the year 2011-12 standing at ` 8,013 crore.
“The government has already started holding meetings with its departmental heads for giving shape to the budget 2013-14 and will soon meet other stakeholders like professionals and eminent citizens for their inputs,” the Chief Minister said.
The State Planning Board will also participate in the deliberations linked to budget preparation.
The Chief Minister said that those election assurances of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which could not find place in the last budget, would be reflected in the new budget. “The fact is, any government has five years to fulfil its promises and last year, I presented the budget hardly 15 days after taking over the administration,” he recalled, maintaining that when he took over the office of the Chief Minister, there was hardly any document or relevant data available to support the preparation of the budget.
“As for undertaking developmental projects are concerned, there is more than just making financial provision for them,” the Chief Minister stated, mentioning that many developmental projects need land acquisition, estimate preparation and its approval, tenders, work orders and so many other things. “Still we managed to at least start few of such projects,” he noted, informing that work for the construction of bridge across river between Carona and Calvim village has already started, while his government had to make available funds to the tune of ` 80 crore for the South Goa collectorate building project, out of the total expenditure of ` 140 crore.
The Chief Minister also said the ministers in the erstwhile government had cornered four to five portfolios and kept all developmental works pending, thus creating gaps in the administration.
“Naturally, when my government came to power, there was a huge backlog to handle, which I think has been tackled successfully,” he noted.
On a parting note, the Chief Minister assured that most of the major assurances of his party have been either completed, in the process of execution or are considered during the budget preparation.
Meanwhile, it is learnt from the informed sources that certain proposals are being included in the budget 2013-14, which would attract new industries in the state, especially those in sectors like information technology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and animal husbandry, thus boosting the employment prospects.
“Furthermore, anticipating very limited revenue from the mining industry, this year, the government is trying to generate revenue to the tune of ` 900 to 1,000 crore by way of alternate means,” the sources maintained, revealing that the IAS officers are putting their heads together for the purpose.
The government is of the opinion that no new taxes should burden the pocket of the common men, which in turn, means that the budget will go for hike in the fees or tariffs for certain services as well as taxes on particular goods/ products, which have remained untouched by the previous budgets.
The Chief Minister, who is fully engrossed in the budget preparation exercise, did not hold the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The forthcoming budget is expected to put to test his expertise in the field of economy, mainly because he has to perform a balancing act for generating revenue, without hurting the common man. [NT]