Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) Comments  on Goa State Budget

“Various fees  and cess  related to mining  have  been  reduced considerably. This  reduction, coupled  with the Export  duty  exemption  announced by the Central Government  will help  in resuming mining activity in the State. This will naturally give a kickstart to rest of the State economy.” 

The  State  Budget for 2016 -17  presented by Chief Minister today is on  expected  lines.  Given  the  state of economy and limited revenue  resources , he had a tough job on hand.  While this Government has always  given top priority  to social welfare, restricting fiscal deficit to 2.84 % , which  is  within  the  3% limit prescribed under FRBM must have been a challenge. The budget indicates that the state Debt to GSDP ratio is 17.07 % which is  well below  the  prudential limit of 25%.

Social welfare still remains the  top priority for  this Government  as is evident from various measures like increasing the  monthly assistance under Grih Adhar, increased allocations for various welfare schemes, scheme for affordable housing  for Government servants and accredited journalists, increase in pension for journalists ,  etc. He has shown his special  focus on ensuring that the desired benefits reach the SC/ST  beneficiaries by constituting a special task force  in each department  which will monitor  implementation of schemes and utilisation of funds under SC/ST sub-plans.

This time there is also  a lot of  focus on creating  infrastructure  like new bridges, a 450 bed  super speciality hospital , new building for Goa Museum, allotment of land for IITetc  which will all benefit  the people of Goa.

Various fees  and cess  related to mining  have  been  reduced considerably. This  reduction, coupled  with the Export  duty  exemption  announced by the Central Government  will help  in resuming mining activity in the State. This will naturally give a kickstart to rest of the State economy.

The Budget outlines many proposals for encouraging  manufacturing  sector in the State. Goa IDC processes  are proposed to  be streamlined and  the Board will get  more  powers to respond  to industry demands suitably. Electronic monitoring  of proposals sanctioned by IPB is a welcome step. This will ensure timely clearances  from various departments and early completion of projects. Special Cell under IPB  is proposed to give appropriate support to start-ups  which is in  tune with Central Government initiatives   like Make in india  and Start-up India. Special focus is also promised on  skill development of Goan youth  which will  help  them find good employment opportunities.  Measures  like  increasing the threshold  limits for small businesses  from 5 lakh to 10 lakh, increasing  loan limits under CMRY scheme, task force under IPB  to  mentor and help start-ups , Digital Youth initiative , setting up an Incubation Centre at Udyog Bhavan etc  will  encourage  young  Goans to be entrepreneurs.

Industry was expecting a few tax concessions  and incentives like exemption under NPV Scheme etc, but that has not happened. However it will benefit  from improvement in infrastructure  like  better roads and bridges, augmentation of  raw water supply and improved power situation, simplification of Goa IDC procedures etc.

The VAT on Petrol has been  increased by about 7%  which is bound to affect small  vehicle operators like taxi drivers, motorcycle and rickshaw operators etc.  Increase in taxes on liquor  and casino fees have been increased  and it impact on tourism will have  to be seen.

Given  the fact that mining has not yet started  and there are limited revenue resources, Chief Minister had to take some bold decisions. But this may help the economy in the long run .

 Narayan Bandekar

PRESIDENT – GCCI