PANJIM: Budget after Budget, the Goa government seems to be still sitting over various basic demands made by the public and the stakeholders of the State.
While the Union Budget was a ‘please all budget’ with some concessions for the common man, now, all eyes are set on the Goa State Budget before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that the Budget 2024 will be a realistic.
While stakeholders -- the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), and Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG) -- have submitted a list of their suggestions and expectations to the State government several times, have said that most of the demands have been long pending ones.
Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) President Damodar Kochkar said, “Like every year, yet again, we have placed our expectations and requests from the Budget 2023, before the government. In fact, the demands have been the same, year after the year. Budgetary provisions are made but they are not being utilised,” he said.
“For the last one year, the Managing Director of the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has been changed five times. Things won’t work out automatically, someone has to put in the efforts,” he said.
Manguirish Pai Raikar, from ASSOCHAM said, “We have been speaking of ‘ease of doing business’ all the time. However, there are so many things that are yet to be done. The Goa Cabinet had taken a decision to enable women to work in night shifts. However, due to lack of follow up, the decision has still not come into force.”
DRAG President Avelino de Sa has demanded with the government to consider an increase of the monthly Dayanand Social Security Scheme (DSSS) pension for persons with disabilities (PwDs) from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 per month and increase in budgetary allocation for aids and appliances and skill development.
The TTAG has recommended for no increase in fees and taxes in tourism related activities for the next two years. President Nilesh Shah has also advocated for better transport facilities and connectivity for tourism.
“The TTAG has requested for no hike in fees and taxes for tourism related activities for two years, as recently, the fees were increased and the industry has finally managed a full year of being open since 2020,” he said.