Friday 23 August 2019

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Economy | Finance

Goa aims at commercial farming & hi-tech industry

 

This being the first year of the Ninth Five Year plan, Goa government has laid down a foundation for its future development with altogether new approach of diversifying agricultural land for commercial farming and emphasising more upon hi-tech industrial development.

In order to attract domestic as well as foreign investment from private sector as well as to negotiate loans from financial institutions for developmental projects, the tourist state has chalked out plans to upgrade the infrastructural facilities through private participation.

"It would be our endeavour to make the existing delivery system dynamic, efficient, transparent, accountable, honest and responsive", says chief minister Pratapsing Rane, utilising the Public Men's Corruption Act and the Right to Information Act.

Realising that tourism has emerged as the backbone of Goan economy, the state government plans to seek private investment in leisure tourism by setting up amusement parks, a world class permanent convention centre, South Asia's best oceanorium and a science museum.

Rane has also announced a plan to set up a Heritage Trust, details of which are in the stage of finalisation. It would basically look after maintaining the old churches, temples and private houses with Portuguese architecture, to make it a tourist attraction.

The main thrust for future industrialisation would be on high technology and medium and large scale industries in electronics, software, pharmaceuticals and precision engineering, which would be environment-friendly as well as capable of absorbing local skilled workforce.

Besides setting up the manpower development cell and ITIs, polytechnics etc to train the educated youth, the government also plans to provide INTERNET connection to all higher secondary schools and computers in the schools, eyeing on the upcoming Software Technology Park.

As foodgrain production has virtually stagnated, Rane plans to diversify the agricultural land for commercial purpose like floriculture, horticulture and cultivation of cashew, coconut, mushrooms, teak, red oil palms etc., having export potential and forward linkage with industry.

It has thus set up Goa Cashew Development Corporation while also trying for negotiable loans from various financial institutions to develop the sector of commercial farming. It would consequently attract entrepreneurship and self-employment, feels Rane.

Accordingly, the government has also called for urgent streamlining of the major irrigation projects, worth Rs 300 crore, restricting their coverage only to command areas and reducing the required investment to half of the estimated cost.

Realising that development of requisite infrastructure alone would attract investments, the state government proposes to set up a board, comprising representatives from select departments and industry, to look at the specific needs of infrastructure and removing the bottlenecks.

It thus seeks private participation in all spheres, may it be the water supply, sewerage, sanitation, central incinerator for garbage disposal, road network, superhighways, bridges, international air port, minor port as well as small power projects.

Tenders have already been floated inviting investment for some of these projects while one small power project is already in the offing, indicating massive hike in power tariff for want of 'quality power'. The state is also planning to privatise transmission and distribution of power.

With all these plans, the tourist state is vying for an annual growth rate of eight per cent with an investment of around Rs 700 crore in next one year, while the constant growth rate for last 15 years has been five per cent in Goa.






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