Warm Greetings for 2016!
This month on the 22nd, GCCI hosted a talk by Shri Suresh Prabhu, our low profile but dynamic Union Railway Minster. Last year when he had presented the first full-fledged Budget of the NDA government in Parliament, GCCI was highly enthused that instead of a populist railway budget which is the norm, he had presented an ambitious vision of benchmarking Indian Railways globally on quality, safety and reach and making it the most economical and reliable mode of transport for Indian travellers.
The Hon’ble Minister’s incisiveness as a chartered accountant came through, when he pointed out that though globally the railways derive more than 30% of their income from non-railway operations, Indian Railways earns only about 1 % of its income through this avenue. Under his able leadership, Railways have taken several initiatives to harness wind and solar energy in a big way to provide an environment friendly and pollution free transport. The Chamber has been associated with the developmental activities of Indian Railways through its representation on Konkan Railway Corporation and South Western Railway and we have a lot to thank Shri Prabhu for. Other than the numerous trains from and through Goa and other infrastructure initiatives, in October last year, the Konkan Railway started the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology in Margao, which, in partnership with Goa University, will promote education and research in tunnelling technology, which the country desperately needs for creating connectivity to its remotest regions.
Providing diverse options even in higher education such as ‘Tunnel Technology’ a niche area of specialisation, is much required in Goa. I am sure many other specialised courses could be made available to our students. We already have the Institute of Ship Building Technology which is an excellent vocational training institute.
I recently met Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz, British labour M.P. at a function where we discussed celebrating the year 2017 as a Year of Culture of India and UK wherein there would a lot of exchange programs between Goa and the U.K- exchange of Chefs, footballers and students and efforts made to create more job opportunities for Goan youth.
Education is the key to growth and educational facilities the foundation. Despite a high literacy rate of over 82%, we need to check whether there has been a corresponding rise in higher education levels in Goa. In the rural areas there continues to be a high drop out rate. If not higher education, then imparting vocational skills will I am sure strike a better connect with such students who are not inclined to pursue aformal education beyond the school level.
As Shri Suresh Prabhu told our members “Sabka Saath, SabkaVikas”.
(President – GCCI)