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March 29, 2000
Goa spares cashew, taxes liquor
The next time you visit Goa, while cashew nuts and cakes will cost the same, you will have to shell out more for liquor.
Presenting the state's budget, Goa's chief minister Francisco Sardinha accepted the central proposal of uniform floor rates of sales tax, except on stationery items and cooking gas.
The Goa government proposes a hike in petrol rates by 70 paise and diesel by 17 paise per litre. This is likely to net the state government a revenue of about Rs 350 million.
Sales tax on motor vehicles was, however, cut by 2 per cent from four per cent, making purchase of any vehicle cheaper in Goa.
Sardinha presented the budget with a deficit of Rs 116.9 million. This is for the first time that Goa has proposed taxation measures to the tune of Rs 750 million.
In an attempt to pull out the state from the debt trap, where 22 per cent of its budgetary expenditure is spent on repaying loans and interest, Goa has also imposed mining cess. The budget also proposes to create a Green Goa fund to deal with mining pollution.
In a similar manner, cess would also be levied upon plastic packaging material including mineral water bottles. A hike in licence fees on beach shacks would be utilised for garbage removal from the coastline.
While searching for new areas to raise revenue, Sardinha decided to levy entry tax on all the goods coming into the state, except for those meant for sale in Goa. This will help net Rs 300 million.
Small-scale units, excepting ferro alloy, pharmaceuticals and chemical units, are exempt from entry tax.
Identifying the grey area, Sardinha noted in his budget speech that raw materials were brought into the state and finished products were taken out without paying any tax.
Sardinha's coalition government also decided to continue the sales tax holiday of 10 years for small units and five years for medium-scale and two more years for large-scale units. Goa also enjoys income tax holiday.
Sardinha has, however, proposed several measures in the excise duties relating to liquor. Rationalisation of some of the duty structure on liquor was also announced.
Strong beer would cost more in Goa now. The chief minister allowed the bars and restaurants to be kept open even after 11 pm, provided they pay additional licence fee for specified number of hours.
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