President’s Desk – GCCI Bulletin April 2018

Dear members,

I was the Chief Guest at the “Global HR Summit’ organised in Panaji in April. A number of reputed speakers were lined up for the event. I had the fortune to listen to some of them and it was interesting to note the paradigm shift in HR . HR is increasingly using data analytics to study employee behavior and needs. Employee experience is one of the main areas HR will be focusing on in 2018, which will be as important as customer experience. I was surprised to learn that Artificial Intelligence is being used in HR and will play a key role in hiring and identifying employee needs, in their training, engagement, mentoring. Digital disrupters are playing a major role in recruitment, leave-tracking and employee well-being. Greater the use of technology and digitisation in an organization and higher the automation, greater will be the need for constant upskilling and re-skilling of employees. This need not be restricted to one’s own area of expertise but employees will be encouraged to skill themselves in divergent areas. Though AI may lead to a loss of jobs in some areas as jobs in the lower range of skills and complexities are getting replaced, it is also facilitating work in a huge way. AI is also supposed to free up time for employees to work on more people centric aspects. A salesperson can use speech recognition software to enter customer details leaving him with more time to interact with customers.

Along with loss of jobs in some areas, finding and retaining the right talent in higher skill areas will also be a challenge. Employers will have to walk that extra mile to retain talent. This will also mean alterations in employment patterns which could include ‘work from home’, flexi-work hours’ etc. The CHRO of Diageo explained that ‘Organisation culture is an outcome of a purpose and is what glues employees to the organisation.’ I think that each organization defines its own culture. How the leaders and the top management of the organization promote this culture will be followed by the employees.

The larger companies are generally abreast with the latest trends and are in fact the implementers . I think it is important that MSMEs and others in Goa should also be aware of the latest trends in HR as these are significant changes happening over a fast pace. After all, employees are one of the most important differentiators of an organization and a powerful edge over competitors. Also the re-skilling is one of the areas employers should look into. Attracting and retaining the right talent is quite a task. When employers are moving towards a leaner organization, the available employee talent needs to be updated with the latest happening on many fronts especially with technology driven tasks which could as mundane as accessing social media for organization benefit. Along with regular training sessions for employees, there are online courses which the employee could enroll for which could be cost effective and at the employee’s convenience. So despite Artificial Intelligence or because of it, employing the right employees is becoming really important.

Goa is neatly located to be a potential export hub. However, instead of increased exports from Goa, the exports have come down. Earlier fruits and vegetables from Goa as well as those sourced from the neighbouring villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka used to be exported from Goa. However new regulations imposed by EU has made it mandatory to export through APEDA – Agriculture and Food Processing Export Development Agency approved pack houses. UAE has also made it compulsory to enclose a PSC- Phyto Sanitary Certificate issued by an APEDA approved laboratory, with each consignment of fruits and vegetables. Goa does not have an APEDA approved pack house for perishable cargo. . This has resulted in about 80% drop in exports especially to Europe which has a high demand for such commodities. Exporters have expressed interest and willingness to invest in contract farming wherein the entire produce would be processed for exports. This would not only ensure good rates for farmers but encourage youth to take up agriculture as a good business option. The nearest APEDA approved warehouse is 400 to 500 km away from Goa. Since fruits and vegetables are a perishable commodity, exporters may lose interest in Goa and re-locate their source base to other states. If this happens, agriculturalists in Goa will definitely suffer so also will those who want to venture in this promising field. In Goa, scores of people have lost their jobs in the mining sector. Mining affiliated businesses have taken a hit or have closed down. People have to be encouraged to venture on their own and set up their own enterprises in different sectors. With the most important revenue generator – Mining – closed, we have to look for options in other areas in our state. Goa which relied heavily on agriculture in earlier times, could renew its focus on this sector. GCCI has requested the Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture to ensure setting up of an APEDA approved laboratory and pack house for Goa. This requires support from banks to extend loans . We have requested the General Manager of Reserve Bank of India to take a more pro-active approach towards lending in Goa. This will not only encourage agriculture but also exports.

On 19th April, GCCI called for a special meeting of GCCI members to discuss Goa IDCs decision to revise the Annual Lease Rent. GIDC had proposed that lease rentals be rationalised to bring some kind of equity among all allottees which hitherto varied widely and also to revise the rates so as to factor in the current cost of creation and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure in the industrial estates . However there was a strong opposition from many members who called the increase arbitrary and without strong legal basis or rationale. It was also felt that industry was contributing substantially to the government exchequer by way of various taxes such as infrastructure, water, house tax etc not to mention other fees as well as providing employment in the state. In view of the strong opposition expressed by a large number of members, we have requested that the proposed hike in lease rentals should be kept on hold for the time being. We suggest that wider consultations and discussions be held to consider all the suggestions made by the members for evolving a solution that is fair and acceptable to all.

Though the plot allocation process at Goa IDC is now completely transparent, the process of allotment, transfer and sub-leasing is slow. One of the major issues is 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. Chamber will fully support Government’s efforts in this regard.

Sandip Bhandare

Download GCCI Bulletin April 2018