I bid adieu to you through these pages the final ‘President’s Desk’ of my term. The highlight of this month was the Chamber’s 109′ Annual General Meeting which was well attended by members and invitees. We had invited Padmabhushan Dr. V K Saraswat, member of NITI Aayog as keynote speaker. It was a matter of pride for us to host one of the most gifted scientists of our country. A Ph.D in combustion engineering, Dr Saraswat played a very significant role in the development of the country’s first liquid propulsion engine . He is also credited with the development of other rocket engines such as Prithvi, Dhanush and Prahaar. He has held the posts of Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and secretary to the Department of Defence (research and development). He has also been appointed Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Dr Saraswat spoke on innovation and how globally it was the buzz word for progress and countries were spending billions of dollars on R& D, technology and innovation. India, he said, on the other hand, had a rich culture of innovation dating back to thousands of years. However this culture has slowly disappeared from India and now we have become a risk-averse nation with little or no inducements for R & D and ideas. Dr Saraswat said that if we have to grow, we have to embrace technology, do value addition and innovate and not be mere users of foreign technology.
We were fortunate to have Hon’ble Union Minister for Roads, Transport and Shipping , Mr Nitin Gadkari as the Chief Guest for the AGM. He said that he was not only all for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, he was actually implementing a lot of ideas in his home town such as making bio-fuel from agri produce and using it to power buses; processing human hair to produce amino acid; using LNG as alternate fuel. He advocated running of all buses in Goa on bio-fuel and said that he would keep one lane on the national highways for vehicles running on electricity. Together, Dr. V K Saraswat and Gadkariji , enthused all of us in the audience to try to think differently and as industry to help in mentoring and skilling the youth.
Unfortunately, Hon’ble CM Mr Manohar Parrikar was unable to grace the occasion due to ill health. I had hoped to apprise him on certain issues affecting industry. After taking charge as Chief Minister in 2012, he had immediately initiated a few key policy changes to kick start the economic development of the State. These initiatives included revision of plot allotment, transfer and sub-leasing regulations of Goa IDC, formulating a new investment policy and establishment of a Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board. These initiatives had immediately started showing positive results. However, the momentum could not be sustained and we started slipping down on many parameters. With improvement in the functioning of the Investment Promotion Board, land allotment should be a priority for the government. Though the plot allocation process at Goa IDC is now completely transparent, the process of allotment, transfer and sub-leasing has become very slow. One of the major issues is the lack of availability of adequate land. The government should immediately initiate the process for unlocking the land previously allotted to the SEZs in Goa and make an effort to add new industrial estates in backward areas. I am sure the Chamber’s new Managing Committee will pursue this issue and will fully support the Government’s efforts in this regard.
EDC Chairman, Mr Siddharth Kuncalienker and GIDC Chairman, Mr Glen Ticlo also honoured us with their presence as did Past Presidents of the Chamber, government officials and other dignitaries.
GCCI had commissioned a study in association with the Goa Institute of Management’ on the ‘Ease of Doing Business in Goa ‘ and on the implementation of BRAPs (Business Reforms Action Plan) by the State. BRAP is a checklist of actionable points to improve EODB. The 2016 BRAP results for states showed Goa at a low rank of 21 with a score of 18.15%. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were ranked first with a score of almost 99% . Each of the top 15 states had a score in excess of 84%. The survey and interviews revealed that prospective, newly started and existing businesses are experiencing inordinate delay in getting approvals and renewals from government departments, transparency in the functioning of the government departments had to be improved and availability and allotment of industrial plots was a major problem faced by businesses.
Instead of criticizing the Government for this poor
showing, Goa Chamber decided to be pro-active and commissioned the Goa Institute of Management to conduct a Study and analyze the reasons of Goa’s low rank and score in BRAP 2016 and recommend steps to improve Ease of Doing Business in Goa. We had planned to present this report to the Hon’ble Chief Minister at the AGM. In his absence we handed over the report to Mr Siddharth Kunkolienker. 159 out of 340 BRAPs are easy to implement as per the EODB report. The GCCI-GIM study recommends that the Goa Government should focus on these 159 BRAPs as implementing them on a war footing would be the surest way to improve the state’s EODB/BRAP implementation score from 18.15% to 59.82% in the shortest time possible. I am sure that the government will act on these inputs and recommendations to get the desired results. It was my last AGM as President, yet it instilled in me a new sense of purpose to grow as an individual, and to help in the growth of my state and my nation.
I have handed over the charge of President to CA Sandip Bhandare and I wish him all the best to lead this great institution.
My best wishes to the new Managing Committee, to the GCCI Secretariat and to all of you dear members.