No fresh taxes in Goa CM’s budget speech; Oppn dubs budget as ’empty talk’

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Even as Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in his budget speech on Wednesday promised not to levy any fresh taxes on the state’s denizens, while presenting a budget with an outlay of Rs 24,467.40 crore, the Opposition has described the budget as an exercise in “wishful thinking”.

Industry stakeholders have, however, welcomed the budgetary announcements including the setting up of a logistics park in the state and increased spending on healthcare and women and child development.

“In this year, I do not propose to levy any additional taxes on our Goans but I will work thoroughly to get in more reforms in various revenue generating departments. Over these years, I have realised that increasing revenue does not necessarily imply increasing the taxes but also plugging revenue leakages and undertaking reforms which will curtail the expenditure on redundant activities,” Sawant said in his speech.

Sawant’s budget had an outlay Rs 24,467.40 crore out of which Rs 17,097.50 crore was dedicated to revenue expenditure, while Rs 7,369.90 crore was earmarked for capital expenditure.

Sawant said that his government would introduce reforms in order to rationalise government spending “undertake strict enforcement measures in order to mobilise additional revenue to the state treasury”.

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Digambar Kamat said that the budget was little else but “empty talk”.

“The budget they have presented is empty talk; it is like a dream that is not going to fructify. The Chief Minister has made a lot of announcements but he has not said where he is going to get the money from,” Kamat said while reacting to the budget speech.

Swati Salgaocar, chairperson of the Goa chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industries said that the body was “reassured by the proactive steps taken by Goa government in this budget and look forward to a stable government and steady growth over the next five years”.

“We are pleased that our long pending demand of Logistics Policy and Entrepreneurship Policy which were much needed have been accepted and we await more details on the same,” she said, adding that the CII welcomed the Goa government’s efforts to restart mining in the state.

“The increased allocation to healthcare and Women & Child Welfare bodes well for the socioeconomic improvement in the state,” she also said.

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