Coronavirus Update: Goa to use iron ore permanent fund to fight Covid-19 battle
The Goa government will dip into the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund, a specialised fund set up on the orders of the Supreme Court, in a bid to find the finances to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Tuesday.
Sawant, who had earlier admitted that the government was facing a fund crunch, said the state finances are also under tremendous stress due to reduction and stoppage of business activity and had sought donations from private companies through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to help battle against the disease.
“We will be using money from the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund for fighting Covid-19. We will use around Rs 120 crore, the fund is worth approximately Rs 400 crore,” Sawant said at his daily press briefing after discussing with stakeholders.
The Goa government is already using the district mineral funds that were set up as per the amended Mines and Minerals Development Act agreeing to spend Rs 52 crore lying with the two districts.
The government, which was in a precarious financial position even before the Covid-19 crisis, has also set up a special bank account asking private companies to donate to help fight the disease.
While not revealing the amount collected so far, the Goa chief minister has said that all MLAs have vowed to give one month’s salary to the account while industrial houses like Bandekar and Dempo have given money while Vedanta Group a large stakeholder in Goa’s mining industry has promised money but has not declared the amount.
The Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund was set up for sustainable development and inter-generational equity.
It was set up on the directions of the Supreme Court while disposing of the Goa Foundation’s plea in 2014 that the lessees who benefit the most from mining must contribute 10% from their sale proceeds for sustainable mining.