In a brief interview,
R Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals Ltd., talks to Shoma Patnaik of how Goa can leverage its natural advantages and balance tourism with other industry
- As a senior CII member and someone who is quite familiar to Goa, what do you think of the Goan economy?
The economy of any state is the function of the national and global economy. Broadly the data on Indian economy reveals that growth rate has improved. Most of the big events, like the GST, has been implemented. GST is going through teething issues but it is expected to get resolved in a couple of months. So we should look forward to much focused growth as tax collections have improve. In my view the government’s ability to invest has improved and demand is picking up. If India grows well and international economy grows well I think it bodes well for Goa which has tourism that depends on discretionary spend.
- Goa is trying to attract investment, what is the outside perception of Goa as destination for investment?
Goa can be a great base for certain sectors like intellectual property. The state is suitable for intangibles like IT, education and research. This is not the place for heavy industry. There is no point trying to replicate the manufacturing model of other states like automoibiles, etc. The whole issue of sustainability is very crucial for Goa and if you have to disrupt then it needs to be in areas where there are natural advantages. In heavy industry, ship building can be encouraged. There are many shipyards and the industry encourages ancillaries. I think Goa can also be a great base for creative businesses.
- How about tourism, what do you think of boosting tourism?
As member of CII, we have worked on Goa’s tourism being single faceted. But the state has the unique USP of all kinds of terrain all within three hours of drive. It needs to be the future focus of tourism promotion. The tour operators must sell Goa as a place where you can experience everything- the mountains, beaches, boating in rivers, etc. The state must be promoted as a spiritual destination as you have beautiful churches and nice temples. It must also be sold as destination for art and culture. Artistes, art lovers, fashion designers, among others must be invited. The only requirement is improving infrastructure by better road, rail and air connectivity and back it up with law and order.
- Goa gets a lot of low-end tourists and there are plans of tighter policing to control them. Your comment?
I think we can encourage a better social behavior through soft means rather than policing. The locals need to get involved and remind visitors to not litter, drink in public places, misbehave, etc. Hotels also need to get involved by distributing dos and don’ts. On tourism there is along way to go and there is always a feeling that we have not done enough. Local transport (for short runs) is a problem and the rates are another thing. There is nothing wrong in saying that economy runs on tourism. Other countries are doing it and Goa needs to leverage its natural advantages in tourism.