Goa ‘punished’ for its small population: Parrikar

Panaji, Jan 29: Goa is being “punished” for its small population base, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the 14th Finance Commission Wednesday, while making a pitch for a larger share of central funds.

Parrikar, accompanied by his council of ministers, also suggested to Commission Chairman Y.Y. Reddy to impose a 2-3 percent professional tax on personal account holders “which could be collected by the centre and the money transferred to the state subsequently”.

Requesting Reddy to tinker with the commission’s fund dispersal formula in favour of smaller states, Parrikar demanded a larger portion of central funds and said: “The state is being punished for having a small population base, high parameters in almost all the sectors, be it per capita, alertness in population control, etc.”

He said the Finance Commission needed to take into account the high density of population in Goa, which is 490 per sq km compared to 390 per sq km at the national level, inter-generation equity, human development index, tax effort criteria, smallness in terms of geographical area and the large influx of tourists, while undertaking the distribution of funds.

The state government also made a case for financial allocation from the commission to build a film festival complex (Goa is the permanent host of the International Film Festival of India), a statewide surveillance system, underground electrical cabling, compensation for the ban on mining and other matters.

The mining ban, Parrikar said, had resulted in a Rs.1,400 crore loss in direct and indirect revenue to the state exchequer.

IANS