The industrial sector in the state has been facing a lot of problems for many years now to the extent that it had become immune to the issues, and with a few demands like the supply of raw water and transparency in GIDC plot allotment being met, it is now seeing better times.
Nevertheless, many problems still persist and the government needs to work on issues like improving power, introducing a single window clearance system, road infrastructure and proper connectivity between the seaport, airport and railways.
The port and road infrastructure, and the power scenario in the state have not changed. Although the Verna industrial estate is blessed with an airport, seaport, railway and highway in its proximity, the state is yet to work on a plan of connectivity.
“To get a power connection it takes months. We talk about infrastructure, where is the power? Instead of depending on the grid, the power sector should be opened to the private sector,” said a source in the industry. “A single window system seems to be far-fetched,” said the Verna Industrial Association president, Mr Prashant Shinde.
The Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar’s budget to be presented on Monday is likely to be a tough one. The government will need to make difficult choices in order to deliver its promised budget surplus. “If the last year’s budget estimates are on track, then the industrial policy to be announced is the best thing that will happen to Goa, said Mr Shinde. The next best thing is the GIDC guidelines for acquiring industrial plots. The people who are in need will surely get the plots.
In order to attract industries in the backward areas, the government is giving five per cent subsidy to companies setting up their units in Canacona, Sanguem, Quepem, Dharbandora, Sattari, Bicholim and Pernem talukas. “Last year, at the Verna Industrial Association’s annual general meeting, the Chief Minister promised us raw water which has been a demand for long,” said Mr Shinde, and added that the promise has been fulfilled. Work has started on the water pipeline and is nearing completion. “This is a great moment for the Verna industrial units. Now big industries can settle in Goa,” said Mr Shinde, adding that these are bouquets for the Chief Minister.
The Information Technology (IT) policy for companies must include absorption of the local IT talent. Instead, the local talent is leaving the state in search of greener pastures elsewhere. The Chief Minister must come up with good ideas and schemes to keep the IT graduates in the state.
“I think the Chief Minister should be given adequate time to fulfil his goals. With a push to the IT sector, Goa can get an eco-friendly industry which suits its highly literate population. Considering that there has been little or no investment in Goa for the last ten years, I sincerely hope that the Chief Minister is successful in his efforts,” said Salgaocar Industries director, Mr Sameer A Salgaocar.
“The IT industry cannot just arrive on good intentions, and needs solid infrastructure to support and sustain the communications and the manpower requirements of the industry. Goa has a well-educated youth population but the government has not yet fully worked on this potential, so we do not see much growth in this space,” said H L Nathurmal CEO, Mr Haresh Melwani.
“Goa has a unique advantage of a seaport, airport and a railway station, all within 5 kilometres of each other, and our industrial policy should be considered with these three as the foundation. No sensible industrialist will think of any substantial investment based on an interest subsidy. The government should rather think about sustainable deliverables, which will not be dependant on political-oriented sops, which tend to change with a change in government,” said Mr Melwani.
Consultations between the government and the industry need to be improved and a single window system must be introduced so as to achieve a sustained investor-friendly atmosphere for industrialisation in the state. “Why an IT habitat at Dona Paula? Why not set it in the industrially backward areas if the Chief Minister is so keen on developing the hinterlands,” queried a bank official, wishing anonymity.
So far, very little has been done on the proposal to provide additional industrial facilities, said Astra Concrete Products partner, Mr Shrikant Parulekar. Applications for allotment of plots in Pissurlem industrial estate are pending since the last one and a half years. Decisions on applications of people who applied for plots measuring more than 5,000 sq mt are still pending. However, whoever had applied for plots with an area lesser than 5,000 sq mt in Pissurlem and Tuem have been allotted, said Mr Parulekar. [NT]