Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday tabled the State Budget for 2022-23 in the Legislative Assembly with an outlay of ₹24,467 crore.
With the resumption of mining in the coastal State being a major poll plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dr. Sawant said that the newly-formed BJP-led government was confident of generating revenue of ₹650 crore in the new fiscal year through mining activities.
“We hope to resume mining activities soon. A mining dump policy will be put in place,” Dr. Sawant said, tabling the Budget on the concluding day of the two-day Budget session of the Assembly.
In December 2021, with an eye to the polls, the BJP government under Dr. Sawant had approved a policy permitting mining companies to export low-grade iron ore, paving the way for resumption of mining activity that has been stalled since 2018.
Minister Vishwajit Rane, long perceived as Mr. Sawant’s rival within the BJP, hailed the Budget by stating that “it would pave the way for a progressive Goa” while senior Opposition leader and Congress leader Digambar Kamat criticised it a “dream budget” which would prove very difficult for Mr. Sawant’s government to implement.
“The 2021-22 Budget reveals that 56% of the announcements made [by the BJP government] were not implemented. This Budget [2022-23] is a repeat of those announcements made in the previous Budgets,” Mr. Kamat, a former Goa CM and a seven-term MLA from Margao, said.
Besides the resumption of mining, Dr. Sawant reiterated the completion of a number of promises made in the BJP’s manifesto, notably the promise of completing the Zuari bridge (linking north and south Goa) by the end of June 2022, and provision for three free gas cylinders to households every year at a cost of ₹40 crore to the exchequer.
Dr. Sawant further said that a real-time water monitoring system would be set-up in Goa, for which the tender had been floated. He said that once implemented, Goa would be the first state to have such a monitoring system.
The CM also announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh for families of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the setting up of two 50-bed critical care hospitals, one each in north and south Goa.
While BJP MLA from Canacona, Ramesh Tawadkar, was elected as Speaker on Tuesday, BJP MLA from Sanguem, Subhash Phaldessai, was elected Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.