20/03/2016 …… The Congress party takes a strong exception to certain sections of polity of the State who chose to blame everyone else rather than demanding that the economic survey be tabled and have a longer budget sessions to discuss the inadequacy of this year’s budget.
The Congress Party has already covered several inadequacies and ambiguities in this year’s Budget. In addition, we would like to highlight two equally important areas, namely Art Culture and Tourism
IFFI, Archaeology, Culture & History Scam
In Budget 2015-‐16, Finance Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said “I propose an allocation of Rs. 20 crores to create apermanent secretariat for IFFI”. For the State’s Heritage and History he said “I am also making a provision of Rs. 5 crores forup-‐gradation of State Museum”.
In Budget 2016-‐17, Finance Minister Parsekar says “I also propose to take up the work for the establishment of an IFFI Secretariat and a state of the art festival venue on PPP basis and I have made a token provision of Rs. 100 lakhs (Rs. 1 crore)towards the same”. For the State’s history and heritage he says “I have made a provision of Rs. 1100 lakhs (Rs. 11 crores) forthe protection of various monuments and provision of Rs. 500 lakhs (Rs. 5 crores) for the new building of Goa StateMuseum.
Congress party wants to ask the Hon’ble Chief / Finance Minister
(a) If in last year’s budget you allotted Rs. 20 crores to createa permanent Secretariat why do you need just Rs. 1 crore toestablish it in this budget?
(b) If you now plan to build it on PPP basis whatever happened to the Rs. 20 crores that you allotted for the same purpose of developing a permanent IFFI Secretariat?
(c) Last year you allotted Rs. 5 crores to upgrade Goa State Museum and this year you allot Rs. 5 crores for a new building of Goa State Museum. What is the logic and what is the story?
(d) You allot Rs. 5 crores to just build a new Goa State Museum building but a meager Rs. 11 crores to protect over a 100 archaeological sites under Archaeology Department Goa and no money to conduct research or unearth other sites?
Tourism, look where we are spending
In Budget 2012-13, the Tourism Department spent Rs 76 crore
In Budget 2013-14, the projected Budget Estimate or Demand was Rs. 154 crores (a 103% increase in Budget Demands) and the Government ended up spending Rs. 164 crores (a 116% actual increase in spending over the previous Budget)
In Budget 2014-15, the Budget Estimate or Demand by Tourism was Rs. 141 crores while the revised estimate or actual spend over the previous financial year was Rs. 140.94 crores (a drop of 14% in Tourism Department’s Budgetary Demands).
In Budget 2015-16, Finance Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that “Tourism has seen Goa evolve as a strong international brand in its own right and will be allocated Rs. 260.09 crores in 2015-16 as against Rs. 140.94 crores in 2014-15”. Of this Parsekar was to “create a special purpose vehicle in 2015- 16 with an initial allocation Rs10 crores to build a befitting international convention centre at Panaji to be a venue not only of festivals but to attract global conventions”.
The Budgetary Demand was again up by 85% by the Tourism Department. As per this year’s Budgetary mention that “Rs. 27.77 crores were spent on creation of tourism infrastructure. Our question is
(a) Why was the Tourism Budget hiked so much and
(b) If only Rs. 27.77 crores were spent on Tourism Infrastructure last year, going by the present yardstick where the Tourism Budget is divided between Tourism infrastructure and Tourism Promotion, does it mean that Goa Tourism spent Rs. 232.32 crores on Tourism Promotion and Marketing alone?
In Budget 2016-17, Finance Minister Parsekar says that “I have made a budget provision of Rs. 5000 lakhs (Rs. 50 crores) for marketing and promotion activities and Rs. 8000 lakhs (Rs. 80 crores) for tourism infrastructure development. Parsekar also says that from last years Rs. 260.09 crores only Rs. 27.77 crores were spent on creation of tourism infrastructure and that the State is expecting Rs. 100 crores from the Centre “under the Swadesh Scheme of the Government of India for the development of Tourism infrastructure particularly beach side amenities”
While Congress demands to know where and how did the Tourism Department spend Rs. 232.32 crores on marketing promotion, our question is
(a) If the Tourism Marketing and Promotion budget was 89% of the Total Provision for Tourism Department, why has the Budget been downscaled to 39% this year? And in any case, why and how are we spending the Tourism Marketing and Promotion Budget?
(b) Also if Goa is getting Rs. 100 crores approximately from Centre for development of infrastructure, why are we spending (almost an equal amount) of Rs. 80 crores? And why are these Tourism Infrastructure Project not defined?
The Congress Party knows all too well that BJP Government will not be able to answer these questions. In their four year rule, they have not implemented any policy reforms which would have brought Goa on the path towards growth. Without such reforms which no matter how much money is poured into these domains, it is all a waste.