Deficit budget presented, but no taxes! Each Goan has a Rs 1.46 lakh loan!!
Within two days of getting sworn in for the second consecutive term, Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant presented the annual budget today, without levying any additional taxes. He said he would raise additional revenue through reforms and rationalisation of taxes.
Though in his one-and-a-half-hour long budget speech he claimed that it is a revenue surplus budget of Rs 434 crore, he also admitted that the fiscal deficit is Rs 3603 crore. It is Rs 953 crore more than the last year.
There is no mention of the quantum of additional resource mobilisation required to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure. The size of the budget is Rs 24,467 crore. But he admits that he has to raise additional revenue.
“… 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. This year without burdening my Goan brothers and sisters, I will bring in various reforms, rationalise the tax slabs on various components and undertake strict enforcement measures with which I expect to mobilise additional revenue to the state government. The action on this will be visible in due course of time.”
While replying to the question raised by opposition Congress MLA Digambar Kamat, Dr Sawant also clarified that he would not increase fees to raise the revenue.
Though Dr Sawant was smiling all the time during a brief debate in the House after presenting the budget, his budget speech indicated that he has a tough time ahead, especially in repaying the loans and interest.
“We have travelled a decade with a ban on mining in 2012-13, followed by recession. In order to overcome the deficit, we have been taking huge amounts of loans all these years. The repayment of the loan begins this year. This year we will repay the principal amount of loan to the tune of Rs 1282.76 crore and interest of Rs 1988.29 crore… I have prepared a roadmap to manage this by streamlining economic planning and controlling revenue expenditure. But in no way I will compromise in implementing the social schemes or building infrastructure. It’s my promise to Goans.”
The budget document however indicates that the total loan has piled up to 21,940 crore. It means around Rs 1.46 lakh of loan on each Goan head. The major amount of over Rs 20,000 crore is the market loan (91%), with high amount of interest. Out of this, the government plans to repay around Rs 3200 crore this year.
As per the budget documents, Goa this year will receive over Rs 700 crore less from the Centre. It includes Rs 118 crore less of share in central taxes (17.7%) and almost around Rs 590 crore less towards the grant-in-aid from the Centre (15.7%).
In order to bridge the gap and accrue additional revenue, Dr Sawant is planning to mobilise only Rs 18 crore more through the non-tax revenue (18%). On the contrary, without levying more taxes but merely through rationalisation of taxes, he is expecting to raise Rs 520 crore more through the tax revenue (34.9%).
In addition, the government is planning to raise money also through more borrowings, which would be 13.7 per cent of the estimated revenue.