The implementation of “green cess” on mining industry, proposed in Goa’s additional budget during this year, has been delayed as the Finance Ministry has referred it to the Law Department for advice.
While the additional budget was passed in August, the levy, which was expected to net around Rs. 300 crore during this fiscal, has failed to take off.
This is the second levy proposed in the budget that is on hold with the professional tax proposal, which was expected to net in Rs. 65 crore for this fiscal, having been trimmed down by the Law Department stating that the Government has no constitutional authority to levy a charge in excess of Rs. 2,500 per capita per annum. The Finance Ministry is restructuring its professional tax structure accordingly.
The delay may affect the State’s finances as collections from value added tax (VAT) for the first half-year have not been encouraging, according to sources.
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who recently stated that he would make a move to collect the cess in a bid to mobilise revenues at a time when VAT collection is not particularly buoyant, confirmed that the matter of “green cess” is with the Law Department.
Sources in the State’s private sector mining industry, however, disclosed that they had “in principle” opposed the levy as the Government was about to collect nearly Rs. 150 crore from the revised royalty on iron ore.
An official of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association (GMOEA), which represents iron ore exporters, told The Hindu that royalty that was in the range of Rs. 8 to Rs. 12 a tonne was revised on August 13, 2009 to Rs. 104 a tonne. As a result, the Government’s royalty collection is expected to rise up from Rs. 35 crore last year to Rs. 150 crore.
Moreover, the royalty collections now would go to the State, the official said.
GMOEA sources revealed that the Goan industry had in the last financial year exported nearly 45 million tonnes of iron ore, including nearly 13 million tonnes of high grade ore procured from neighbouring States.