We welcomed Ganapati Bappa with great joy and fervour this month.Chaturthi was earlier than usual and it seemed that Bappa wanted to make his presence felt sooner this time around. Ganapati or Vighnaharta is the God of wisdom and the remover of obstacles. Wisdom is what guides us on the right path to do the right things. And wisdom is what Goa needs. Goa is a small state and ideally placed to be a model state in all respects, be it in the tourism, IT, logistics and education sectors or in the implementation of various government initiatives. If we take the initiative and determine to be the best or even be among the best, success cannot be far away.
IT as a sector is a good example. It is well known and accepted that small IT companies and start-ups are what Goa needs. The Government therefore needs to put in more vigorous efforts to secure Goa as a niche IT destination. The Government has already started laying the groundwork through its initiatives of revamping the IT Policy, earmarking land for the IT Park in Chimbel and planning the setup of the Electronic Manufacturing Cluster at Tuem. The Government is also planning to setup a 48-seater incubation centre in Panaji for which the agreement with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) has been signed. The Government should now strive to put the plans into action with a fixed timeline in mind, so that we can attract investments and be a hub for clean, sustainable industries ideally matching our local skill sets.
This month, in August, the IT & YEF Committee of GCCI in association with the Google Developers Group organised the “Google ‘Solve for India”’ program at GCCI, Panaji. Google India, we had learnt, wished to help script the new story of an emerging India by encouraging development of apps/ solutions in Indian languages – an hitherto largely untapped and un-serviced segment in India. The IT & YEF Committee got in touch with them and ensured that Goa was included as the tenth city among the ones shortlisted. Google too willingly obliged as they realized that Goa was one of the destinations which had the potential for this exercise. The programme received an enthusiastic response and nine start-ups were shortlisted and given one- on- one mentorship at the Chamber by the Google team. This event was a part of “Google Developers’ Solve for India” initiative which aims to nurture developers and tech entrepreneurs and reach and support mentors across India through access to open technologies, training and recommendations at networking conferences, reaching the grassroots in sixteen cities in India. Google will later be hosting those curated from all over India for a two-week bootcamp in Bangalore.
I think that such events are a big boost and encouragement to our IT industry and start-ups. The mere exposure that they get, the more is the motivation to soar higher and get into the latest tech inputs and support.
Goa exports mineral ore, fish, fresh vegetables & fruits, machinery and pharma products on a large scale.By incentivizing the IT Industry, let’s hope our software exports can also be ramped up to that level as well.
Coming to exports, Gujarat and Maharashtra accounted for 49% of India’s exports. Other than these two states, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh account for the top five performing states in terms of exports. If one notices these states have the advantages of a vast coastline. In fact the land locked states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana which need major improvements in basic infrastructure in the logistics sectors are also showing rapid growth in exports. This is despite high transaction costs due to inadequate infrastructure. Goa has quite a buoyant logistics network and a vast coastline is a natural advantage. Goa should be doing a lot more to promote itself as a logistics hub. Mormugao port is a gateway for factories and could well be a gateway for coastal cargo of hinterlands of Belgaum, Dharwad, Hubli & Kolhapur.
Our coastline unfortunately has attracted a man-made species – the Lucky Seven – a casino vessel which has run aground on our Miramar beach. This has already lead to the erosion of more than hundred meters of the beach. Miramar is one of the most pristine beaches of Goa and any major obstruction to the sand movement can bring about drastic changes to the beach.
I sincerely pray that may the Vighnaharta help us to remove this disastrous obstacle. I also pray that mayGanapati’s wisdom prevail on us to wisely look after our resources – whether nature or industry.