FM presents "aam aadmi" budget, with reliefs and levies

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Panaji, Mar 26 (UNI) Goa Finance Minister Dayanand Narvekar presented what he termed an ''Aam Aadmi'' budget with an estimated Rs 265.64 crore revenue surplus but with a projected Rs.799.42 crore fiscal deficit for 2008-09 in the Goa Legislative Assembly here today.

It had an estimated Rs 4686.27 crore budget expenditure, an increase of 25.7 per cent over the current fiscal's Rs 3725 crore.

The increase was meant for utilising in varous productive sectors, including human resources for boosting the economy.

It envisaged waiver of farm and rural housing and panchayat loans besides offer of subsidies to the poor to the tune of Rs 50 crore but nets an additional Rs 300 crore by way of increased taxes and duties on the richer segments including excise, house building and entertainment and transport sectors.

One of the highlights of the budget was offer of subsidies to farmers by offering minimum support price on different produces to encourage agriculture in this tourist state, which had hitherto been depending on import of all essential commodities.

The other highlights are offer of plots to women enterpreneurs in industrial estates, subsidies to encourage rain water harvesting, welfare of economically weaker sections and encouragement to self-employment avenues and infrastructure development in villages.

Interacting with mediapersons later, the finance minister, who took nearly three hours for reading the budget speech, described the budget as ''all inclusive and growth oriented, taking care of the present issues of Goa''.

At the sametime, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said,'' the budget tried to reflect the 'aam aadmi' policy of the government to touch the heart of commonman while raising sources of additional finances.'' The BJP Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar, however, said the budget attracts Goa further into the ''debt trap with debt GDFP ratio exceeding 33 per cent as against normal 22 per cent and no provision was made for the expected Rs 220 crore expected hike in salaries and pension for the next fiscal as a result of the sixth pay revision commission recommendation.


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