With new government saddled, the most immediate task is to table the budget for Goa. On March 24 it will be done. VIKANT SAHAY found out from industry quarters what they expect from the new government
With the new government in place and the budget to be tabled in barely eight days, the industry is concerned about the state of business in Goa.
The Comptroller and Auditor General latest report dated August last year for the year 2014-15 in its audit finding and recommendation had mentioned that during 2014-15, the State achieved all the three major parameters specified by the thirteenth finance commission and under Fiscal Responsibilities and Budget Management (first amendment) Act, Goa 2014 viz. (i) the ratio of fiscal liability to Gross State Domestic Product at 26.35 per cent was in line with the target fixed (27 per cent) in the Goa FRBM (first amendment) Act, 2014, and lower than the projections made in Finance Commission (29.10 per cent). (ii) the fiscal deficit at 1.80 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product was lower than the norms of three per cent (iii) The third parameter of revenue surplus (Rs 279 crore) was achieved during the year. This was mainly due to increase in revenuereceipts by 19.21 per cent against an increase in revenue expenditure by 8.92 per cent over the previous year.
As far as revenue receipts are concerned, the rate of growth of revenue receipts increased from 10.35 per cent in 2013-14 to 19.21 per cent in 2014-15. This was due to net effect of increase in non-tax revenue by Rs 664 crore (39.95 per cent), tax revenue by Rs 314 crore (8.77 per cent), grants from the Government of India Rs 209 crore (58.54 per cent) and share of Union taxes and duties by Rs 52 crore (6.12 per cent).
Interest payments on loans taken by the state government was a bit of concern. Interest payments (Rs 1,007.53 crore) increased by 13.12 per cent during the year over 2014-15.
Another concern was that in the area of non-plan revenue expenditure, the revenue expenditure (Rs 7,410 crore) constituted 85.69 per cent of the total expenditure. Out of this, 77.04 per cent was the non-plan component (Rs 5,709 crore). The Non-Plan Revenue Expenditure (NPRE) remained higher than the normative assessments of the thirteenth finance commission and the projections made in the budget.
Even though the financial health of the Sstate is far better than many others states in India, the industry in the State feels the ‘slow down’.
“Various industries are struggling with the industrial slow down now for many years and are also strained with the various taxes that government has being levying,” said Atreya Sawant, Chairman of CII Goa State Council.
In a communiqué from the Goa IT Professionals (GITP) it mentioned that all future job creation needs to happen in the private sector in knowledge-based and green industries such as IT, electronics and manufacturing.
“We should have high-income modern employment options for our youth without having to leave the state. The government now needs to get working in this direction from Day One. This is the only way we can get rid of the immoral economy that is currently powering Goa,” added the GITP message.
It also suggested the following and requested the new government to make changes to the administrative setup:
n Industry and IT should be headed by a single minister with no other charge. It is necessary to build a perception about Goa as an investment-friendly state. The minister will be expected to coordinate among the departments and take holistic decisions. Several industries complement each other. IT industry works for other industries. They cannot be looked at in isolation.
n Departments of Industries and IT should have a single full-time director. So far the Directors have been given additional charge leaving them no time to focus on effective functioning of their departments. All states have a full-time Director for these critical departments. Goa being a small state should appoint a single IAS officer in charge of both the departments. Again, this role requires a dynamic and energetic individual. The departments should be given time-bound targets in terms of job creation in the private sector.
n Involve industry professionals as advisors. “We request the government to capitalize on professionals from the industry and involve them in the policy-making and its execution,” the statement added.
n All the infrastructure that is getting developed needs to benefit Goan natives and not just tourists. For that to happen, Goans have to be retained in Goa. “We hope the new dispensation will give utmost importance to fulfilling this need Goa screams for. As a responsible organisation, The Goa IT Professionals pledge their support, time and energy in bringing back our sons of soil,” said GITP spokesperson.