Goa Government unveils Draft Industrial Policy

Goa’s draft Industrial Policy highlights simplification of online systems and application process, while promising to cut down on red-tapism and help existing industries expand their base for the betterment of the state

With the aim of promising faster clearances and single-window application processing, Mauvin Godinho, Goa’s Industries Minister, unveiled the draft document of the ‘Goa Industrial Growth and Investment Promotion Policy’ to entice more industries to the state.

Mauvin Godinho

The Policy
Godinho stated that the draft policy was aimed at expediting permissions and official clearances, so that entrepreneurs keen on setting up businesses in Goa were not made to stall their plans because of the red tapism present in the industrial ecosystem.
The policy focuses on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), land related reforms, incentives for existing and new businesses and other provisions.
Thus, the policy would not only help attract new industries to Goa, but also aid in hassle-free expansion of the state’s existing ones. “The Policy is also aimed at encouraging and helping new industries to come in a big way,” Godinho said.

The policy states that the existing land available for industrial activity would be made public in order to ensure transparency, for which the Government and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) are working in unison.
Stating that emphasis will be to attract good industries, Godinho added, “Whosever wants to set up their industries in Goa it will be time-bound unlike the past when they used to consume a lot of time. The maximum time for bigger units will be three months and for small units, it will two months only. Also, the highlight of the policy is the common application form.”

The Industries Minister said that local businesses will be given first preference in the expansion of their units, while inviting newer industries to generate employment and boost Goa’s economy.

Role of IPB
The role of the Investment and Promotion Board (IPB), as ‘single window’ will be strengthened and common application for all pre-establishment clearances including land allotment through Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) will be created.
Godinho said that there will be transparency in the allotment of land and land bank will be made available online and allotted through GIDC.
“Similarly for land conversion, we are going to empower the ‘Investment Promotion Board’ itself for change of land use. This way, it will cut down time taken for various processes,” Godinho explained that IPB is the state’s special-purpose vehicle formed to attract new industries to Goa.

Industry Sentiments
Ralph de Sousa, President of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is important to clearly define the roles of Department of Industries, GIDC and IPB, all three which are responsible for the governing of the industrial sector in the state. “It is important to ensure that they work in tandem for the benefit of a strong industrial growth. The draft seems to address this requirement.”  
According to the draft policy, promoters of industries would now have to process just one comprehensive document, a ‘common application form’, which would then be cleared by all the governmental departments concerned, instead of making prospective promoters to queue up at various departments for licensing and clearances.
Further, de Sousa mentions that the focus sectors for development are the ones suited for Goa as they will be in a position to consume the local labour force. “The online system needs to be upgraded and the single window clearance under IPB should become a reality. The available land with GIDC as well as the vacant plots in the industrial estates should be uploaded on the GIDC site and offered to the investors.”
Also, an online database of private land parcels available on a lease basis for the development of industry and other commercial projects will be created so that investors can review and connect with the land owners directly. The government will facilitate clearance, Godinho added.

Administration to be in tune with the Industrial Policy
Blaise Costabir, Managing Director GMI Zarhak Moulders Pvt Ltd, stated that the intent behind the industrial policy is a good one and will now have to be translated into rules, regulations and connections with other departments like the TCP, PWD and Electricity Departments. He stresses on the training of the government workers mentioned in the policy. “There is one factor where they talk about training which is very essential for government departments. Everyone in the government wants their own kind of ‘ease of doing business’ but when an industry person visits the government department he is not treated as an important person who is contributing to the economy of the state as well as being indirectly responsible for the salary of the government servants by way of paying taxes. The attitude of government workers has to change. These workers should welcome an industrialist and try to sort out the problem and queries of the person requesting, as soon as possible. The policy states that the front end staff will be trained which I feel is a good thing,” Blaise adds.

Policy Focus Areas
Special assistance for sick businesses/units with potential, such as financial aid, bridge financing, debt solution, market support, formulation of an exit policy have also been mentioned in the document.
To be more effective, fewer focus sectors have been identified – IT and ITeS, high-end hospitality, niche tourism, and food and agro processing. Besides, the focus is also on low-polluting sectors that do not require large industrial land, Godinho elaborated.
The draft policy has aimed at creating self-governing industrial local bodies that will have representation from industry. It has also said the government will take up development work within industrial estates.
For eco-tourism projects in non-restricted zones, land-use change will be simplified, the document has said, adding that there will be a provision to develop an industrial park, a food park, tourism hubs, event spaces, etc. in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode or by private investors.

Promises Galore
The draft policy has promised incentives linked to production, export promotion, development of ancillary industry and procurement of local raw material besides adoption of green practices and local employment generation.
Incentives will also be given to MSMEs, startups, especially women-led startups, in the forms of seed and pre-seed funding and market support.
The document has declared customised incentive packages for mega projects with an investment, excluding cost of land, of over `100 crores.
de Sousa stresses on the importance of the industry enablers like human capital, power and water supply, waste management, high speed internet and seamless connectivity. “Uninterrupted power and water supply, skilled human capital and high speed internet will be the game changers for the consolidation and expansion of Goa’s industrial sector.”
Godinho said that the government will try to bring related legislations and amendments to the existing laws in the upcoming assembly session to drive this new policy.

Logistics Hub
The draft policy has also focused on comprehensive development of logistics through a logistics hub, cold chain facilities, container freight stations, ports and waterways and micro industrial zones across talukas. With regards to logistics, de Sousa states that comprehensive logistic development is most welcome as Goa can be a logistic hub.
The document is now open for public for filing objections and suggestions.

Jobs for Locals
Asked whether 80% of jobs in the industrial sector will be reserved for locals, Godinho said that it is practically not possible to reserve 80% of jobs for local people.
However, he clarified that draft policy has stipulated that those industrial units that hire locals will be given incentives.
Costabir hopes that the rules and regulations will be out quickly, the details specified in fine print and the policy will be operative sooner than later. “The single window system is something that everyone has been asking for and if they can make it live it will be great for the industry. There is also a very keen interest to bring in mother units which are a good thing and incentivise such units to come to the state. When mother units come in, ancillary units have a better chance of coming in.
Overall, there are no complaints and everyone wants the industry to have a better and quicker turnaround time. This draft policy I feel is done with good intentions and it has to be translated from paper into action,” says Costabir.
To conclude, de Sousa says, “It is a great effort but will be possible to implement only if the ‘Goa Rights of Citizens to Time Bound Delivery of Public Services Act 2013,’ which is lying on the back burners, comes into force”


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