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Rane presents populist budget

Written by: Staff

Panaji, Mar 22 (UNI) Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane today presented a Rs 4160 crore budget for the year 2006-07 with over 50 per cent allocation for the social sector, but with Rs 753.46 crore fiscal deficit.

Confident of generating Rs 60 crore through various taxations, the Chief Minister said the State was expected to get Rs 198.9 crore through Central allocation and Rs 295 crore as Central assistance by way of its share in taxes.

Mr Rane, who also holds the Finance portfolio, disagreed that he had presented a populist budget because his Government was planning early polls in the State which are scheduled for June 2007.

''While making the budget, I followed the policies of the Congress and the UPA government,'' Mr Rane told mediapersons in his post-budget briefing.

He said he was expecting a 33 per cent growth in revenue through VAT collection to the tune of Rs 675 crore in the current fiscal as against Rs 521 crore in the previous fiscal. The collection system would further be streamlined to check leakages.

The budget size was 11.78 per cent more than that of the previous fiscal while the overall deficit was expected to be Rs 20.07 crore even as the plan size of the budget was Rs 1035 crore.

The concessions were mostly related to excise including beer while stamp duty on property transactions was reduced from 4 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

The government was examining the entire entertainment tax structure so that its base could be widened to even casinos, cable television and a host of other items.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar described the budget as ''an attempted populist but futile budget'' that was the first step to plunging the State into a ''debt trap'' within three years.

Against an expected tax revenue of Rs 980 crore and Rs 800 crore fiscal dificit with Rs 401 crore interest burden and no concrete measures spelt out to mop up additional revenue, what more could we expect from this budget, Mr Parrikar reacted.

Goa BJP president Rajendra Arlekar described the budget as a ''directionless'' one.


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