Goa’s tourism, mining sectors sulk at budget proposals

February 28th, 2011 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Panaji, Feb 28 (IANS) The union budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has come as a shock for the two industries which are considered the mainstay of the Goa’s economy - mining and tourism. While the state’s Rs.6,000 crore mining industry expressed disappointment at the 5 percent hike in export duty on iron ore, the tourism industry has said it is unhappy with the service tax levied on restaurants and medium range hotels.

A spokesperson for the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI), an apex trade body in the state, said the increase in tax on iron ore exports was in complete contradiction to their pre-budget memorandum submitted to the union finance ministry, which had sought a cut in the ad valorem export duties.

“This budget means nothing but brickbats for us. The export duty on iron ore is hiked from 15 percent to 20 percent. This steep increase will affect the industry to a large extend,” GCCI vice president Manguirish Pai Raikar told reporters here after the budget presentation in Delhi.

Goa exports nearly 40 million tonnes of iron ore annually.

Narayan Bandekar, a leading mine owner and senior official of the GCCI, said the duty on iron ore export was a stab in the back of the Goan mining industry.

“Goa has always had low grade ore which cannot be used for local steel industry. There should be exemption from the hike for low grade ores. We have no option but to export the ore,” said Bandekar, who heads NRB mining group.

Raikar also said that the service tax on restaurants and mid-range hotels would affect the tourism business in the state.

“The service tax introduced on restaurants will also hit the tourism industry, which had actually demanded concessions in the taxes,” Raikar said.

GCCI president Cesar Menezes told reporters here that they would further lobby with the union finance ministry and seek a rollback in both the export duty and sales tax for restaurants.

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