The Congress-led State Government on Thursday presented annual budget with special focus on agricultural sector and increased taxation for those who can afford to pay.
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the budget at the backdrop of rising Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the state from 9.46 percent in 2008-09 to 13.03 per cent in 2009-10.
“I expect the GSDP growth rate to be in the vicinity of 14 to 15 per cent for the year 2010-11 and further, I am hopeful that the economy will not look back and achieve a respectable growth of 15 per cent during the next fiscal year 2011-12”, said Kamat.
The budget announced volley of populist schemes for farmers in the state including one time grant of Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 80,000 per hectare for self-help groups.
Kamat also announced unified subsidy rates on farm equipments at 75 per cent of the cost of the implements. He announced budgetary provision of Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 500 crore for the village oriented schemes for rural areas affected with incessant iron ore mining which would be spent over the next two years. “Initially an amount of Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 100 crore has been provided in the budget,” he said adding that gram sabhas will have to submit the projects that they would like to execute in the village.
In a major populist scheme, the chief minister announced `unemployment subsistence allowance’ for the youth who are registered with the employment exchange.
Kamat said that monthly unemployment subsistence allowance of a maximum Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 1,200 based on their educational qualification would be made available for the unemployed youth for three years.
The chief minister announced rationalization of the luxury tax, rolling back the tourism cess of 5 per cent in addition to luxury tax imposed on hotels during the last budget.
“In my last budget, I had proposed a levy of 5 per cent of tourism cess on hotel rooms in addition to luxury tax but in subsequent discussion with the tourism industry, I restricted it to 2 per cent only,” he said.
“Since Goa is an international tourism hub, to support the local hotel industry that has been representing time and again, I would like to reconsider the additional levy imposed in the last budget and propose to rationalize the levy of luxury tax,” Kamat said.
In the fresh taxation structure, Kamat exempted hotels upto Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 300 per room per day from the ambit of luxury tax. The hotels charging between Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 300 to Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 1500 will have to pay 5 per cent, Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 1500 to Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 3000 will have to pay 8 per cent and Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 3000 to Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 5000, will have to shell out 10 per cent luxury tax.
For the hotels exceeding Annual Budget For 2011-12 Presented 5,000 per day rates, the tax of 12 per cent will be levied. “Luxury tax on accommodation for commercial purposes will be charged at 5 per cent,” Kamat said.