Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar termed the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as a “major disappointment” on grounds that it has failed to address the issues facing the country and further lamented that it offered nothing to Goa that is entering the Golden jubilee of joining the nation.
Speaking to Goachronicle, Manohar said it was indeed disappointing that the export duty on iron ore exports has been raised. He argued that the Minister should have instead raised the royalty on the ore exported.
“Currently, the centre is taking all the cream from iron ore exports and the state is left to deal with the environmental degradation and other related problems,” he said adding that at least if the royalty was increased, the State could have by right demanded a certain percentage of it to deal with the problems caused by this industry.
“The Centre does nothing to mitigate the problems faced by the State and by increasing the export duty, he has further pushed the State into a critical situation,” he said.
He pointed out that while the cost of the mining industry in Goa is around Rs 580 crores, its earnings are to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore, most of which is utilized by the centre.
He also accused the Finance Minister of trying to damage the tourism industry in the State by proposing to bring air-conditioned restaurants serving alcohol and hotels charging more than Rs 1000 per day under the ambit of the Service Tax. “As it is the State government is taxing this section and with the Centre also seeking to squeeze them, the restaurant trade is bound to be affected,” he said.
He also wondered whether the Finance Minister was trying to fill up his coffers by emptying the state coffers as the State government will probably roll back the taxes it collects from the restaurants to mitigate the effect of the Central taxes.
On both these counts, Manohar blamed Chief Minister Digambar Kamat who is also the Finance Minister of Goa. “It is obvious that the state’s Chief Minister did not brief the centre about the needs and the aspirations of the State and that is why there are no concessions or special packages for Goa,” he said.
He also lamented that the budget has failed to address critical issues facing the country like inflation and increase in prices of agricultural produce. “The package announced for agriculture sector is actually a joke as it will have no impact at all,” he said accusing the Finance Minister of merely paying lip service to rural India and agriculture sector.
The raising of the bracket for exemption from Income Tax is a joke he said pointing out that the inflationary trends demanded a higher bracket.
Overall, Manohar said the budget was “disappointing with Goa not benefitting at all thanks to the failure of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.”