Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry held the General Session of its 114th Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 27th June 2022 at the Taleigao Community Centre. V Shanta Kumar, Senior Advisor and CMO of 91 Springboard was the Keynote Speaker. Hon’ble Chief Minister, Dr Pramod Sawant was the Chief Guest at the event, Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Mauvin Godinho and Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & IT, Rohan Khaunte were the Guests of Honour.
The President Ralph de Sousa while welcoming the gathering said that the Chamber has completed 114 years of its existence and service to the business and economy of Goa. He said that the road ahead is tough for the industry and it was necessary that the government facilitates ease of doing business – a hassle free, corruption free, time-bound system where truly a single window means what it states. De Sousa said that if Goa had to indeed become ‘Swayampurna Goem’ and a manufacturing hub for exports, quick remedial measures had to be taken by GIDC such as online procedures to be implemented and strengthened – viz e-filing, automated building approval, NOCs, certifications; immediate plot allotments after IPB approval, accountability of services provided by GIDC; infrastructural issues at industrial estates, rain water harvesting etc. With the MOPA airport scheduled to be inaugurated shortly, he said that the last mile connectivity has to be ensured. .
The Keynote Speaker, V Shanta Kumar, presented his vision of Goa as an ‘Inspirational Dream’. He said that Goa exists in the hearts of people. It’s not just a piece of land. Goa is the only place in India where one could live in a village and still live a city life. Goa is a place where one can think creatively, deeply and meaningfully. He said that for any idea to be powerful it had to be economically powerful. It must work for the ordinary person, it must work for the state and country, it must be 21st century ready, plausible to execute and be unique. That idea he said was that Goa could be a global hub for creative sciences and creative arts. Goa already has an indigenous and thriving culture. We are expanding access to Goa through MOPA. We now need to increase the intellectual capital of Goa and provide digital literacy at an accelerated rate. Schools and universities for AI, nanotech, stem cell research, brain mapping, robotics and telemedicine, product and building design, ergonomics, dance, sculpture, music and painting, films and creative writing could be a big draw and a magnet for intellectual tourism as well.
Dr Pramod Sawant said that it was indeed commendable that when India was celebrating 75 years of freedom, GCCI was celebrating a milestone of 114 years. He said that GCCI was the only business association to have been awarded by the government on the occasion of the Goa Statehood Day celebrations this year due to the Chamber’s phenomenal contribution to the industry and to Goa. He said that the government was working on the recommendations of GCCI to enable EODB in Goa and that these changes would be visible in the policy within six months. He also complimented GCCI for its idea of the Goa Invest Summit planned for this year and said that the government would be extending its complete support to this event. Dr Sawant also requested the industry to invest in new and renewable energy.
RohanKhaunte, Guest of Honour said that that GOA – stood for Golden Opportunities Available. Khaunte said that contribution from tourism to the government revenue could increase if the per capita spend by tourists increases. Government will soon be a launching an app to indicate all types of tourism activities, rural stays etc which could be explored. Goa needs to be the tourism and gastronomy capital of the country and we need to create infrastructure to attract high quality of tourists. He said that Goa has moved from just sun and sand to start-up culture He said that he agreed with Shanta Kumar that the intellectual capabilities and skills have to be increased to create a new vertical. He said that MOPA would be the biggest game changer in terms of tourism as well as logistics. He requested GCCI to support the government on this.
Mauvin Godinho, said that the time for susegaad was over and that Goa had to adopt new practices to be relevant. He said that he was in the process of tweaking the Industry Policy. There will be only one common form for all approvals and IPB will be only the facilitator and GIDC will allot the land. Complimenting the good work done by GCCI for the industry during covid, he requested the Chamber to be more vocal in expressing support to the good work being done by the government. He too said that with MOPA coming up, Goa has to ensure good internal connectivity and infrastructure for tourists. He said 10,000 taxis could not hold a 15 lakh local and 40 lakh tourist population to ransom and requested GCCI’s support on this.
Shrinivas Dempo, Vice-President, GCCI proposing the vote of thanks appreciated the Chief Minister for devoting two hours to the GCCI function. He complimented the Keynote Speaker, Shanta Kumar for his brilliant idea of Brand Goa which he said was echoed by the CM as well as Mauvin Godinho and RohanKhaunte.
The Director General Sanjay Amonkar compered the event.
The General Session was followed by cocktails and dinner.
The Business Session of the AGM was held before the general session.
GCCI congratulates the government and the Chief Minister’s vision of making Goa an educational and intellectual hub by setting in motion the process of starting new educational institutions such as AYUSH college, Watersports institute etc. The Chamber also congratulates Rohan Khaunte, IT &Tourism Minister for his effort to provide fibre connectivity to every home. GCCI also stands firmly with Mauvin Godinho, Industries Minister’s idea of inviting private taxi players into Goa who would employ only local taxis owned by Goans. All these initiatives will usher in positive changes in Goa and its economy.