Panaji, Oct 15 : Goa Forward, a regional political party and the state's ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally on Tuesday said the state was becoming a 'banana republic', with the government shirking accountability vis-a-vis controversial decisions like the sudden call to waive road tax for all vehicles up to December 31 this year.
The party's president Vijai Sardesai, a former Deputy Chief Minister, also said that the controversial road tax waiver would cost the state exchequer a loss of around Rs 50 to 60 crore.
"Goa is slowly and steadily becoming a banana republic with governance of least accountability . The road tax waiver that is going to cost Goa a whopping Rs 50 to 60 crore loss was done inspite of no clearance from the Finance Department. Who bears responsibility for the loss?" Sardesai said on Tuesday, a week after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced the tax waiver in a bid to spur sluggish auto sales.
Interestingly, according to a cabinet note which was circulated by Transport Ministry during the last cabinet meeting on October 9, when the road tax waiver was taken, the state Finance Department had not given concurrence to the tax waiver.
In the cabinet note signed by state Transport Secretary Rajesh Kumar Thakur, the official said that the decision to waive road tax was taken in order to revive economic activity, adding that one could not quantify the benefit of the waiver to the state exchequer.
"Currently the economy is sluggish and push is needed to kick start economic activity by way of fiscal and non fiscal measures. Projected revenue is normally calculated by way of month to month comparison where estimated growth is added to previous year's tax collection to arrive at current year's expected revenue collection," Thakur said in the cabinet note.
"Projected revenue loss calculations are based on assumptions of expected growth and in situation of adverse economic period, calculation of revenue loss cannot be done. It may be noted that loss of revenue on account of reduction in motor vehicle tax will be partly compensated by revenue by way of GST collected on induced sale caused by incentivising another tax.
"Further there will be additional value added tax collection on sale of petrol and diesel to run these new vehicles in the months to come. It is expected that such measure will benefit the economy but quantification in rupee cannot be done," he added.
Moreover, while the Finance Department had not cleared the proposal, it had "sought details of revenue loss to the government on account of reduction in rate of tax and asked whether reduced rate of tax will be compensated by resultant increase in sale of vehicles".
On October 9, Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, while batting for the road tax waiver had said: "The decision was taken to provide an incentive to the common man, especially before the festive season when people tend to spend money on new goods including vehicles".