PANAJI, Feb 7, 2020, Hindustan Times. Liquor is set to cost up to 50% more from April 1 in Goa, chief minister Pramod Sawant said in the assembly on Thursday. Presenting his maiden budget, Sawant announced a hike in excise duties and fee on the sale of liquor, with the hikes ranging from 20%-50% for all categories of liquor, Hindustan Times reported.
“We have only made a small increase in tax so as not to increase the burden on the common man. We have hiked excise duties and fees a little, stamp duty has been hiked, land rates have been revised and court fees have been increased,” he told mediapersons after his budget presentation.
Goa’s excise revenue collection was Rs 477.67 crore during the financial year 2018-19 which was an increase of 16.5% over the previous year while the new excise duties and fees will see the government rope in additional excise revenue of Rs 100 crore — an increase of around 25%.
Despite the hikes, however, booze available in Goa would continue to be cheaper than that in other states. Sawant also promised to crack down on black-marketing by proposing to introduce a unique hologram on each bottle which would authenticate the liquor.
Besides liquor, the government has hiked stamp duty, fees under the land revenue code, as well as the court fees which, the CM said, will help mobilize revenue of additional Rs 150 crore.
While admitting that mining operations were suspended for a while, Sawant budgeted a revenue generation of Rs 500 crore from the industry, citing his government’s efforts to restart mining in the state.
He also announced a host of new infrastructure projects, including bridges, bus stands, better connectivity as well as an impetus to ecotourism and hinterland tourism.
The chief minister’s budget speech was marred by sloganeering from Opposition members. Speaker Rajesh Patnekar directed that the Opposition MLAs to be escorted out of the well of the House where they had gathered to protest against the arrest of independent lawmaker Rohan Khaunte. Khaunte had been a minister in Sawant’s Cabinet till he was shunted out when ten MLAs from the Congress joined the BJP in 2018. The Opposition MLAs were seeking the arrest of state BJP spokesman Premanand Mahambrey for filing a “false complaint” against Khaunte.