In a detailed economic analysis, Nanda (Anil) S.N. Counto, Chairman and Managing Director at ALCON (Anil Counto Enterprises) elaborates on the current economic scenario in Goa and recommends solutions to pull out the state from its gripping economic crisis
Goa is on the threshold of growth. The Mopa airport that was recently inaugurated will boost tourism and cargo logistics in the state. The auctioning of mining as per the latest direction of the Supreme Court, which was a long pending issue, stands resolved. The Government of Goa will earn much needed revenue from this auction on an annual basis and export revenue on a per ton basis. Goa can arguably have the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as per capita income in India, provided there is less political intervention and corruption.
The above industry verticals are divided into three main economic segments – primary economic sector, secondary economic sector and tertiary economic sector. The primary economy requires adequate attention and also tertiary economic sectors for the State’s GDP growth. The secondary economy sector will definitely help as it is connected with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and also small and large manufacturing units. Growth and proper planning of primary and tertiary sectors can become a game-changer for employment, which will boost Goa’s economy. The primary economic sector was covered in the previous issue. We take a look at the secondary and tertiary economic sectors, this month.
Secondary Economic Sector
The raw materials for the primary economic industry such as agricultural products, animal and poultry products, fisheries and pisciculture products, floriculture and horticulture products and mining products are used for growth and the forward integration industry that will satisfy the needs of Goa’s population and the excess products could be sold out of state, which will help the employment and GDP. Over and above the manufacturing units, the Government of Goa should encourage SMEs which are at present situated in different Government industrial estates as well as in private industrial estates.
Many MSME industries are not flourishing and expanding mainly because of the non-supportive approach by the government. There are enough entrepreneurs and skilled personnel in Goa who can set up MSMEs in the state, but due to red tape and inordinate delay in securing the requisite permissions, the products manufactured in the unit gets defunct and the unit is rendered unviable. To add to this, there are many other contributory factors such as paucity of timely loans, interest burden, etc.
Investment Promotion Board (IPB) is a good initiative but IPB should not become one more statutory approval window, although IPB is supposed to be a ‘single-window clearance’ for any industry to be set up in Goa.
The Government should encourage private industrial estates and also private industrial buildings having micro and small entrepreneurs who just want 50 sq mts to 100 sq mts area, approximately, to set up their tools or machinery that will be part of micro and small industrial units.
Private Industrial Estates should be outside the purview of the panchayats, which is a big stumbling block, because of their vested and conflicting interests. There should be a body which issues all approvals including a ‘Sanad’ for these private industrial estates. It can even come under Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with some good amendments and rules to the present laws and it should be the responsibility of the IDC to collect the necessary taxes due to various authorities, including panchayats.
The Pharmaceutical Industry is one of the biggest industries in Goa having all the major multinational companies (MNC) pharmaceuticals. Sugar factories have become a white elephant for decades. This can be converted into an economy-boosting industry if proper thought is given. A proposed scheme ‘Sugar plant analysis, options and optimisation’ that was shared during Manohar Parrikar’s regime can be revisited. The Goa Government can still ponder over this proposition; the idea was for the forward integration of the molasses available to be converted into ethanol. This proposal was given by me to the Goa Government in the year, 2016-2017.
Goa has very high potential growth in the tertiary economy which is mainly a service-related industry. The main industries in this tertiary economy are:
- Tourism & Hospitality related industry: There is a tremendous opportunity for Goa to explore this vertical of the tertiary sector. Goa requires incentive schemes and booster incentives. These should be floated by consulting talented and non-tainted professionals with the sole intention to secure a minimum of 150 million tourist footfall in Goa of which 25% is comprised of foreign tourists. The abundance of forestry and huge water ponds artificially created due to mining can be converted into water sport entertainment lagoons and can be explored for other related industrial activities. The forest area also can be explored for tourism-related and agriculture-related due to the abundant availability of water. The government should facilitate the infrastructure through its own resources as well as through incentive schemes for Goan entrepreneurs. This vertical of the tertiary economy sector itself is sufficient for Goa to become the highest GDP earner as well as an employment generating state in India.
- Knowledge Village Industry: The Government should provide incentive schemes to bring world-class institutions to each of the following talukas – Pernem, Bardez, Bicholim, Sattari, Quepem, Sanguem and Canacona – so that other institutions in villages may be developed. Moreover, the western belt of Goa, along the coastal side could be explored for tourism and allied industry, while the eastern belt, which has vast areas but less in population compared to the western belt, can have knowledge village-based industry. The Eastern side which consists of 7 talukas namely Pernem, Bardez, Bicholim, Sattari, Quepem, Sanguem and Canacona are in need of development. However, most of these talukas are blessed with minerals like iron ore, manganese ore, and basalt. Because of mining, many areas in some of the talukas of the eastern belt, have deep excavated land/deep pits, now forming a lake-like water body which, with the help of the Government, can be converted into water sports activities supported by amusement parks, etc. There is probably insufficient material/soil to fill these big pits and some sort of other avenues to engage these areas for the economic up-liftment of the nearby villages should be explored. Fear psychosis and villagers mindset need to be changed; students must be welcomed. Villages and talukas benefit in terms of economic up-liftment and employment benefits.
- IT and IT-related Industries: The focus should be on software and the hardware industry: Goans are intelligent, English speaking and educated. There are approximately 2000 engineers who graduate from Goa every year. There is at present, brain drain of the educated intelligentsia. Incentivised schemes encouraging young entrepreneurs to set up startups should be enhanced. One large digital-related company should be invited to Goa to set up. Goa’s security on the digital front must be enhanced to avoid unwanted elements coming to Goa.
- Mopa Airport: The new airport will give a big boost and can be a game-changer to Goa’s GDP growth, if proper study and implementation of different projects connected with the airport is done, mainly on tourist handling facilities and cargo handling (which will be huge in numbers) facilities and also allied industrial units that may start, because of the proximity to the international airport (Mopa). The Government of Goa should encourage and grant permission to set up hotels in the north Goa beaches as well as in the talukas like Pednem, Bicholim, Sattari and some eastern sides of Bardez taluka and also entertainment related facilities must be encouraged. Proper TCP planning of the talukas near Mopa Airport must be taken up on priority basis.
- Major Ports: Mormugao Port: A salient natural port that should be expanded for the import and export of raw materials and goods. It has tremendous potential if the state and central governments think seriously to expand this natural God-given port.
- Renewable Energy: Should be explored with a futuristic idea with the latest technology. This is an excellent industry to be explored to the fullest extent for the industrial development of Goa. At present Goa is purchasing energy.
- Health and Social Care: Goa being a highly literate state, financial-related services as well as health and social care-related services, can also be encouraged.
- Health and Social Care: ‘Ghar-Ghar-Me-Jal’ can be a unique business proposition. Goa gets yearly about 3000 cm (120 inches) of rainfall. It is presumed that in the ghat areas to the east of the Goa region, the rainfall is about 5000 cm (200 inches) Most of this rainwater goes to the Arabian Sea. Goa has many rivers, tributaries and rivulets into which this rainwater flows and ultimately goes to the sea. Because of the high tide and the unique topography of Goa, most of the rivers, up to approximately 20 km from the coastline get the saline water into their streams. The salinity decreases from September to the month of May and then the rain starts. Rivers have comparatively sweet water after 20 km of length from the sea-line. There are many villages, having 50 to 100 houses, which are situated within one km of these sweet water rivers, tributaries and rivulets. There is always a shortage of water in the months of April and May for tapped/sweet water in different cities of Goa.
A required height of smaller dams / bhandaras / barrages should be built on these rivers/tributaries to accumulate the water and then pump the water near the assigned village by constructing a lake to store this water, purify the water to make it drinkable and supply this water to the nearby houses so that the water problem faced by the villagers is solved permanently.This sort of scheme will make the government have additional water supply, having disconnected the existing water supply line from the main source of water supply from bigger dams and supply this surplus water to the cities which suffer water scarcity in the months of March, April and May every year. A full-scale holistic scheme can be worked out.