“Goa Vision 2035 will be a people’s document and not of some wise men and the challenge is to create new development paradigm that will ensure that we have a happy Goa by that year,” said Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar at a Youth Convention organized by the Goa Golden Jubilee Development Council at Ravindra Bhavan on Sunday.
In his opening remarks that had a large number of college students packing the conference hall to capacity, Dr. Mashelkar said the document would seek to address the challenge of development without destruction.
He urged the students to give their suggestions by pointing out that the document was for them as by the year 2035 they would be in the prime of their productive years and would be able to take pride in the document they helped prepare.
Sharing some of his personal experience, Dr. Mashelkar pointed out that Ratan Tata, an Indian was the highest employer of British in Great Britain and said that while some Indians were doing very well, it was time for India to do well.
He also placed the document in its perspective by pointing out that by the year 2039, India with one-sixth population of the world, will be driving one-sixth of the world’s finances and said the Goa Vision 2035 document has to be prepared keeping in mind this reality of then and taking into account the fact that currently, the socio-economic indicators of Goa were far ahead of those of India.
Over 40 people, most of whom were students gave their suggestions and revealed their dreams and aspirations for Goa in the year 2035. Preserving the Goan identity, curbing the migrant influx, sustainable development, revamping the educational system including the syllabi and revival of agriculture were the main areas identified by the speakers.
Ownership of land was another issue raised with various speakers suggesting that transfer of land to non-Goans be curbed. One of the suggestion was to revive the Communidades which were the original owners of most of the land in the State and convert them into Land Banks.
As for the educational system, a revamp was called for in various spheres including upgrading existing institutions instead of bringing in NITs and IITs, setting up one residential school, creating educational hubs and above all imparting education as per the needs of the market so that they are easily employable.
There was a clarion call for formulating a clear cut tourism policy aimed at developing hinterland tourism while calling for a total stop for any further development of coastal tourism. Similarly various speakers called for an end to the mining industry and more particularly the illegal mining that has become rampant.
There was a call to revisit the industrial policy with an emphasis to have only those industries that are not only non-polluting but also employing only local youth instead of creating a demand for labour from across the borders and in this regard it was suggested that pharma industry be encouraged and promoted in the State.
Taking cognizance of the bleak scenario as far as agriculture is concerned, various suggestions were made to revive it and make Goa a food surplus state. Co-operative farming, subsidies and mechanizations along with multi-farming using modern technology were suggested as means to revive agriculture.
Garbage management was yet another issue stressed up along with setting in place necessary infrastructure to look after geriatric population left alone in Goa while their children are working overseas.
Preserving the ecology and environment particularly the Western Ghat which is the source of Goa water supply were stressed upon while pointing out that by 2035 due to Global warming Goa’s land mass will shrink.
There was also a demand made to accord Special Status for Goa before 2035 which would ensure that the Goa of Goans’ dreams can be achieved by that year.
One common and oft repeated demand was to keep politics and politicians out of the process of planning, institutions dealing with land and from law implementing agencies.