Newly elected Chairman of CII, Goa Council Atrey Sawant speaks about the plans ahead
As told to Alexia Fernandes
As a business organization, CII Goa chapter has divided the core Council to target five basic panels which are tourism, manufacturing, skill and HR, education, and ease of doing business. One of the major outlooks that we are hoping to achieve this year with the government, is to increase Goa’s DIPP ranking from its current rank, in terms of ease of doing business. We want to help the government to improve this ranking so that more investors will seek investment opportunities in Goa, as well as making the investment process a lot smoother.
What is CII’s Vision for Goa?
CII’s major vision is to see that Goa becomes one of the top three states for ease of doing business. This has been a long term vision for our organization and continues to be an area of focus for us. We want to create a feasible environment for the investors who have already settled here and try to attract any potential investment that might contribute immensely to the state’s economy.
What are CII’s planned initiatives in the different sectors of the state?
We have drawn five major objectives which we will be looking at this year. Firstly, we are looking to initiate a program for sensitization of tourism workforce. This program is aimed at people employed in the tourism sector and will provide them with formal training for a short period of time, to help enhance the experience of tourists in Goa.
In terms of infrastructure, we are also proposing for a Convention Center with a large capacity which should be the biggest in India if not in south east Asia. Through this, we will be able to reel in continuous programs and exhibitions and possibly become the country’s center for hosting such programs. This would also help relax the country’s dependence on tourism but also support tourism with the crowds it may potentially attract for attending these events.
Government should formulate an entertainment policy and an Entertainment Park. It should acquire land for an entertainment zone which would be leased out to various stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector like a industrial estate. Such a designated location would also enjoy amenities like having an independent authority to look after it, relaxed restrictions on time and a secure environment.
A lot of women employed in the manufacturing sectors are missing out on opportunities to build up on skill due to restrained work hours. They tend to miss out on employment opportunities because industries aren’t able to employ them for three shifts. Hence, we are requesting the government to consider women working in shifts with companies providing them with facilities like transport and security which will enable them to work an extra shift, if they choose to. Another problem we are looking to tackle is unemployment. The organization has also put forth the idea of a government run Employment Exchange, where companies can access and find out the skill available in their locality. This integrated network system should be accessible from panchayats where candidates can upload their data on to the network.
How successful has CII been as a platform for information sharing?
CII organizes various conferences that frequently helps members with skill development and knowledge building. This year, we are planning an interactive conference to discuss the GST to try and impart people with information and help people adapt their businesses to this policy. We also have frequent Webinars, which are online seminars by faculty from various parts of the country. We recently hosted the 2nd Nautical Tourism Conference. This conference addressed the new rules and regulations by the Government of India for the sailing vessels and yachts, with an aim to spread awareness among the stakeholders. This also helped Goan industries to gain perspective on how to increase nautical tourism in Goa and to discuss future opportunities available in Goa.
What are some of the facilities that the CII Members enjoy?
CII is open to memberships from anyone working in the manufacturing or service sector. We look forward to having more members join our organization and become a part of CII. We offer various facilities to our members through the CII App and the website. These online portals are a vital platform for networking and interlinking business operations from all over the state, in both the private as well as the government sector.
We also offer free tender services, and dissemination of various updates on government policies.
Besides being an information pool for various investment options, the CII website also provides various B2B business opportunities where members can post details about their business services and products which are accessible for all.
In your opinion, what are some of the other sectors that the Government could tap into besides tourism?
Goa has a lot of potential in the IT sector and Electronic Manufacturing and the government should really boost development in these sectors and create employment opportunities. In fact, the government has already invested and began operations with the new Tuem Electronic City Project. CII is looking forward to working with the government and supporting its initiatives towards fulfilling these objectives. CII plans to conduct Road shows for the government in Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote Investment in IT sector and IT Parks and hold an IT Investment Seminar inviting all top IT companies to attend.
What are some of CII’s past achievements?
Through a wide spectrum of activities, CII promotes and projects India and Indian industry globally. In November 2016, we had the CII- Roundtable Discussion with Korean Industrial Delegation and Goan counterparts followed by 20 B2B sessions.
CII also organized a Tribute by the Goan Civil Society to Hon’ble Prime Minster of Portugal Antonio Costa. To educate the Goan Industry of the potential that the Defence sector holds, CII Goa, organized a Session on ‘Industry Defence Linkage’ in February 2017. CII Goa celebrated its Annual Day on 10th March 2017, and also organized a Conference on ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
Under the ‘Skill Development’ initiative, CII renewed the MoA with Goa Shipyard Ltd. to map out and develop required skill sets for the shipbuilding Industry specifically in the area of Defence vessel manufacturing in the State.
CII Goa has also submitted valuable budget recommendations to the Government of Goa and has requested to favourably consider the memorandum, which CII believes will greatly enhance the competitiveness of the domestic industry.
What measures could the state use to attract business opportunities in Goa?
The Government is trying to do a lot of things to boost investment in Goa but there are still some basic requirements and administrative issues which need to be addressed. So far, a lot of effort has been put into infrastructural development, especially with the current improvement of the road network system which is to help industries in Goa to be better linked, irrespective of their location.
Besides this, the GIDC should focus to shift its role from being a real-estate manager to an industrial facilitator. The Investment Promotional Board formed should be strengthened, and the Investment Policy 2014 needs to be revised and the incentives stated needs to be notified by the government. Setting up of businesses tends to get held back because of the time consuming process of approvals and permissions. This tedious process needs to be shortened at a local level. Another important factor that the government should look into is investing and acquiring high speed data connectivity to support the upcoming developments in the IT sector in the state.
We have also put forth suggestions to the government like increasing the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in industrial real-estate which would enable industries to go vertically up instead of spreading around in existing areas.