Senior Journalist | Author | Consulting Editor, India Today
“I was going through the souvenir yesterday when Harsh showed it to me and I believe it reflects the remarkable diversity of this State. It may be small in size but Goans have always had large hearts. And the word passion which Piyush used, I would like to add to that; large-heartedness of Goa. There is no other state which to my mind, combines the finer qualities of being Goan. I think today’s winners list shows the enormous human capital that exists in Goa. Goa is a state with huge potential, and with things that living in a place like Delhi I know don’t exist otherwise – law abiding citizens, citizens who are conscious of their environment despite the occasional aberration, and citizens who importantly are not just well educated but have great respect for each other’s community traditions. In my opinion, it’s a state which combines the modern outlook with a huge respect for tradition and this is what makes Goa special. If you were to ask me where I would like to retire, I would say, Goa, not for any other reason but because it just represents the quality of life that is so often missing in other parts of India. The challenge, for Goa is to translate this enormous potential into performance. And it would be foolish just to blame the government and say that Goa deserves better politicians; it’s not just about politics, but it’s about creating an environment which is conducive to translate potential into performance.
Last year, I did a Digital Economy Series for the India Today Group which included going to different states to find out how states had bought into the idea of Digital India. And the two states that stood out for me were ironically states that had been carved out in 2014; the new Andhra Pradesh and the new Telangana. Most of the real action that takes place in India today, is in the southern power houses. The manner in which they have created the start-up culture in Telangana and Chandrababu Naidu’s remarkable digitalization of Andhra Pradesh is worth an applause. These states have had huge advantages and they remain to be the ones to embrace the ever-growing startup culture. I ask myself why should’nt Goa embrace such a culture with many of the advantages that these states perhaps don’t have? We have a better educated young population, passion, and larger hearts; then why shouldn’t Goa become the startup hub of India? Why shouldn’t Goa become the next big thing when it comes to digital economy?
The whole gamut of digital education today offers enormous potential. And I say this as a media person because I believe that the future even in the media depends on how well we embrace the digital world and how we are able to convert this great opportunity into building a multi media machine and this is the future. That future can be millions of small startups that are able to come up with great ideas; an educational hub, for example. Why shouldn’t Goa become the educational hub of this country? I know there would be huge issues about the land because every time you say something in Goa they ask, ‘but where’s the land?’ Well, there’s land for a lot of other things in Goa.
Why can’t there be land for educational estates for young Goans to give them a chance to believe in Goa. One of the most depressing things is when young Goans have to go outside Goa to make name for them, which is why today’s event is important. Because I hope it will inspire a lot of young Goans to create wonderful stories, and to base themselves in Goa; for which you need to provide opportunities. I believe that opportunities lie in areas like digital education and in going a step ahead.
I would like the Goa’s politicians to go see what KTR, the son of KCR is doing in Telangana. He is a remarkable politician and there are very few young politicians that I’ve seen who have embraced the future so readily, which is why Telangana today is the state on a fast track. Why should Goa not be on a faster track, is the question I ask you and many of you who know Goa better.
The Chief Secretary is here, he and I went to college together several years ago. As an outsider with a great passion for Goa, I believe, there is a huge opportunity waiting for someone to look beyond the traditional industries of Goa. You can’t see Goa the way you do simply because it suits us, because it builds complacencies, we need to shake it up a bit. We need to be a little disruptive but, that doesn’t mean politics but, you need new faces, new energies and new ideas. This is a State waiting for a great new idea and the idea I want to throw today is to build a digital educational hub of the future of this country. You’ve got Pune and Bangalore but they are saturated, Hyderabad is also bursting under the seams today. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for a capital in a sense of India’s digital economy and which better place can there be than Goa?! The number of awardees today are a proof that if you want to do it, Goa can. So congratulations to all the winners, congratulations to Harsh for organizing this and creating a platform that hopefully will inspire many more young Goans to become entrepreneurs and change the face of Goa in this country.”