PANAJI: The scheme floated by the office of the Commissioner of Non-Resident Indians, called ‘Goa card,’ has failed to evoke interest among the Non-Resident Goans (NRGs) with only 680 cards having been issued to Goan expatriates as against the estimated population of over one lakh Goans living abroad mainly in the West Asia.
The lack of response from NRGs is indicative of the fact that they do not find the government proposal attractive. Besides, there have also been complaints that the officers of the government were lethargic in responding to the issues of the NRGs and their proposals, said some of the cardholders and NRGs. The Goa Card is a scheme, which was introduced in January 2008 replicating Gujarat NRI model to help NRGs to get faster access and better attention from government departments, offices as and when they visit them with their grievances.
The so-called single-window system for NRGs is only on paper. “In reality, there are several windows behind that window. It is for this reason that NRGs have lost their faith in the functioning of the government departments and are no longer interested in applying for the card,” an official said emphasising on the need for better coordination of government departments.
The proposal to issue NRG cards is part of the NRI policy to attract investment from the Goan expatriates but the poor approach of government departments in implementing the scheme has come in the way of setting high standards in resolving complaints of NRGs.
The NRI cell officials have expressed dissatisfaction over the working of the government departments and said they do not bother to implement its circular on Goa Card scheme. The NRI cell has issued circular to all the departments asking them to give special privileges while attending the Goa cardholders.
The NRI cell has received several complaints from the cardholders against various government agencies for not showing courtesy and not giving priority to them when they visit with their grievances, an official from the cell informed.
The card is issued on request and a nominal fee of Rs 250 is charged. The cardholders are entitled to the benefits offered by government undertakings, private hospitals and hotels on their services/facilities. The scheme also includes an accident insurance of Rs 1 lakh, for a nominal fee, during their visit to Goa.