News headlines

from daijiworld's special correspondent

September 8, 2006

Pension Liability Fund Launched

Panaji: Executing fiscal reforms, Goa cabinet approved creation of pension liability fund with a provision of Rs 135 crore for the current financial year.

"In next ten years, fund would be fed by annual budget allocation to create a corpus", Goa Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane told reporters here.

The state recorded pension expenditure for the year 2005-06 was Rs 155 crore, Rane said adding "Goa is amongst the eleven states whose pension expenditure is greater than the administrative service expenditure.

"It has increased faster than that of consolidated position of all the states combined," he added.

Rane said the Darashaw Co - a professional agency, has been hired to get a detailed study on the pension expenditure and the funding requirement.

Nearly 30 per cent pensioners in Goa were in the age group of 60-65 years and 65 per cent in the age group of 65-70 years, he said.

Rane stated that by 2014, the number of pensioners and employees will match and after which number of pensioners or dependent population will be greater than productive employee population.

The total pension liability for Goa government is estimated to be Rs 45,198 crore inclusive of death-cum- retirement gratuity benefit at present value cost, for the existing employees, he added

Employment Guarantee Programme

Panaji: The Goa government today unveiled an employment guarantee programme on the lines of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme that will provide a minimum of 100 days' employment in a year to the poor.

"Anyone between 18 and 60 years can apply for this scheme provided he is of Goan domicile," Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane told reporters after a meeting of his cabinet.

He said employment to both skilled and unskilled persons would be provided under this scheme.

The state government has empowered village panchayats as the implementing agencies for this scheme while the Rural Development Agency will monitor and control it, he said.

"The state would provide funding to the tune of Rs one crore for this scheme to start with and payments will be done through village panchayats," he said.

Government Retracts on Casino Proposal

Panaji: Taking a virtual  “U” turn on off-shore casinos issue, Goa government today said that it was not keen on having many off-shore casinos in the state.

The congress-led state government had faced opposition fury coupled with the discontent within the ruling coalition on its stand to have 10 off-shore casinos in the state.

While BJP had rued government decision to make Goa a gambling destination, the NCP, partner in the ruling coalition, had refused to concede to government’s stand claiming that they were not taken into confidence on the issue.

“We are not keen on having casinos… I doubt whether many companies would be ready to set up such off-shore casinos as it is not feasible,” Goa chief minister Pratapsingh Rane said while playing down the issue after state cabinet on Thursday.

Flanked state chief secretary J P Singh, the chief minister tried to convince the reporters that it is not  a big issue as not many companies would actually start operating.

The state government in its media advertisement had expressed its mind to have 10 off-shore casinos in the state. The ad also mentioned that six companies had already paid processing fees to set up floating gambling dens.

“I doubt whether all those who have sought permission would actually start the business,” Rane added.

The chief minister feigned innocence about any media advertisement on casino issue while chief secretary came to his rescue stating that the advertisement was “government’s attempt to have transparency.”

The chief minister stated that two off-shore casinos are already operational in the state. “At the most two or three more may come,” he predicted citing several economic unfeasibility in running such venture.

He said that besides processing fees, the applicants would also have to invest in purchase of boats as well as dole out annual fee of Rs one crore to the government, which may not be a financially viable proposition.

Saying that there have been no security problems as off now, the Chief Minister added police is capable to take care of the security.


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