PANAJI: Despite the significant dent to the state economy due to the closure of mining, the government sounded optimistic about the state’s financial and development scenario. The closure of mining has brought about a direct loss on mining royalty to the tune of 1,000 crore per annum approximately and indirect loss of about 450 crore, governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo said in his speech on the first day of the Goa legislative assembly on Monday.

Mindful that mining is an important economic activity of the economy, the governor assured the government’s commitment to re-start legal and well-regulated mining operations at the earliest.

The governor said the total number of people impacted by the closure of mining is close to 3.5 lakh and the “total loss to the economy is over 20,000 crore given the production and export levels achieved during the financial year 2011-12.”

As a small but significant step towards providing relief, the government will come out with a rehabilitation package. For this, the state government is already in touch with the Prime Minister and the Union finance minister to allow a special financial package to the state, Wanchoo said.

The governor sounded optimistic about the government’s ability to cope with the economic downturn. He said that the government inherited a number of incomplete infrastructural works under the PWD and the Goa state infrastructure development corporation. Many works were pending due to non-payment of bills that amounted to more than 1,500 crore in various sectors. The government has already cleared the liability to the tune of 1,000 crore during the past nine months.

The governor also said the government will re-assess the viability of projects. Citing one such case, the governor said re-negotiations with a tenderer in the project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, resulted in a savings of over 40-crore to the state. The governor said that certain projects of the earlier government were either over-designed or extravagant in costing. The governor cited many examples of these.

For example, in hospital buildings, huge bed capacity was created without any analysis of the footfalls. Also, the south Goa district headquarters could easily been completed within 40% of the cost, Wanchoo said.

The governor also assured a “quick review” of many old projects including the district hospital at Margao. “The bed capacity shall be revised to 500 instead of 800 and the extra space will be converted into a training school for para-medical courses,” Wanchoo said.

The governor said that despite the loss of revenue, the government could implement all schemes as planned by curbing wasteful expenditure and stopping corrupt practices. The government will mop up revenues through better monitoring and tax compliance and by plugging leakages. The government will emphasize on 100% compliance of VAT and other taxes. Identification of the loopholes and plugging them through modification of laws are some measures taken by the government.

The government estimates that as much as 200 crore is lost due to non-compliance of the taxes. The monitoring and surveillance machinery is also being strengthened to increase revenue collection, the governor said.