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Nitin Kunkolienkar – Vice President, Smartlink

1- What do you think are the changes that have happened in Goa in the last four years and what do you see in the future of Goa in the next four years? 

2012 elections were the election of change and we were hopeful about the economic and social sector development of the State. However, there was adverse impact due to the global slowdown coupled with ban on mining activity in the State. The complete socioeconomic structure of the State suffered a jolt.

However, some smart moves and strategies of the Hon’ble Chief minister helped to minimize the adverse impact to a great extent. The situation could have led to a disaster if the same was not handled properly. Goa was on backfoot because of agitations and poor social response to development and Investments. We also witnessed some crooks trying to exploit the Goa market through unfair means.

The next four years are the years of optimism. After almost 20 years there is a stable government both at the Centre as well as the State both of the same political party. This is a boon and and create wonders for the State in creating sustainable development pattern. The Hon’ble CM has already taken various initiatives in this direction to augment sustainable development one of it being Investment Policy 2014. In the years to come these initiatives will show positive results. I forsee the bureaucracy which had got into a shell in the past 7-8 years would gain dynamism & take active part in the developmental process. Issues of Corruption, Law & Order, Casino, prostitution continue to be a worry, but once other sectors get activated, these issues will be addressed and get de-activated.

2- What are the most critical issues working towards Goa’s advantage? 

Goa is a State blessed with people who are educated, fun and peace loving by nature. A very safe place with communal harmony. Nature has showered its blessing on Goa. A stable Government, with active citizens who will do everything to check undue exploitation of the environment and who will not tolerate abuse of law are today the real protectors of Goa. This has also made the government to perform decisively.

Goa is a state linked with airways, railway, waterway and roadway. It is one of the favorite global tourist destinations and the tourist inflow is ever expanding. With the government announcing a string of developmental initiatives like the amusement parks, oceanariums,Golf course etc the inflow of qualitative tourists is going to increase. The basic infrastructure in basic form is available , what we need to do is just structured integration.

 3- What are the most critical issues working towards Goa’s disadvantage? 

a) Agitations by people having vested interests and holding the investors to ransom & poor support of the government in protecting the interest of a genuine investor  has sent wrong signals in the country as well as globally.

b) On the industrial front Goa not being a consuming State, the nearest market available and on which we have to remain dependent are Mumbai and Bangalore which are almost 600+ kms away. In the competitive world this creates cost disability logistically for a manufacturer. Besides unreliable import export cargo due to poor connectivity to Goa port proves to be a great disadvantage. Industry is Goa has to rely on Mumbai port for their easy transit of cargo be it Raw Materials or finished goods.

c) Getting unskilled labour is a big challenge and Goa has to depend on migrant labour for the same.

d) The institutional mechanism of the Government to support and protect the genuine investors in weak.

e) Poor Infrastructural support for the Industry with respect to Power, Water Supply and Roads. Telephone and Internet connectivity throughout the State is pathetic. Poor integration of infrastructure.

f) Rising corruption.

g) Goa’s Tourism stake holders are restricted to only Hoteliers….this is not healthy.

4- What does Goa need to do over the next four years to be recognised as a Global destination?

•A very transparent, Investment friendly approach for genuine Investors.

•Transform Goa to a qualitative manufacturing destination.

•Create qualitative tourism and shift from quantitative to qualitative tourism and attract high spending tourists.

•Improve Global connectivity

•Create Cyber Highway and improve on telecommunication network throughout the State.

  5- Are the people of Goa its biggest drawback or its biggest strength? 

Its indeed the biggest strength. Goa is not only beautiful place in the country but there are other destinations too, however GOANS unique behavioral pattern, culture, hospitality, warmth make them GOA the best destination. Goans are most lovely people I met on this planet. I am blessed to be a GOAN. However  a very negligible portion has brought disrepute to the state by virtually exploiting the INVESTORS,BUSINESS MAN for their vested interests. In some of the cases they wait till the project takes off and then they will start blackmailing thru agitations etc. However, slowly the system is exposing them. The best quality of life is in GOA. We must deal with migration with due care or else we will face the music.

Its need of the hour to be extremely careful on choosing what we need to do in Goa.

Good Goans need to sit across and decide the SUSTAINABLE MODEL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR GOA.

We need to decide what we wish to market in Tourism, deliberate advantages of Tourism at the same time evaluate negative impact of tourism. What class of people we want, how to attract best class etc etc. Industry also we need to evaluate. We should get the Industries which suit the local requirement. Goa is distinguished as world class destination due to the FLAVOUR of GOANS. We are simply the best.

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