‘Sankalp Patra’ fails to address Goa’s concerns  


Panaji : ‘Sankalp Patra’, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, and other senior party leaders in New Delhi has nothing Goa-specific in it.

However, the poll manifesto carries various general assurances, in a number of sectors – from tourism to coastal development to benefit for the small shopkeepers – that can be applicable to Goa, along with many other coastal Indian states.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant informed that the state BJP unit had recommended to the central leadership of the party some local issues for their inclusion in the BJP manifesto, such as starting of mining operations, tourism expansion, additional infrastructure development and scheduled tribe status to the Dhanagar community.

The BJP manifesto speaks about coastal safety that can be applicable to Goa.

“After effectively strengthening coastal security through implementation of a coastal security scheme to provide modern equipment and allocating funds to the states for establishing coastal police stations, establishment of national committee for strengthening maritime and coastal security, island information system and National Academy of Coastal Policing, we will continue to take steps for ensuring India’s long coastlines,” it states.

As regards coastal development, the poll manifesto of the BJP maintains, “The potential of coastal development for transportation, tourism and economic upliftment of coastal communities has remained unexploited in the country. To exploit this potential fully, we have launched the Sagarmala project and will ensure speedy completion of the projects under this programme. We will double our port capacity in next five years. We will further encourage integrated development of coastal areas including coastal cities, coastal transport and coastal industrialisation. We will continue to focus on development of inland waterways for shifting inland cargo movement from road and rail to water transport.”

Speaking about ‘Fisheries – Blue Revolution’, the manifesto states, “We will launch ‘Matsya Sampada Yojana’  with an allocation of Rs 10,000 crores to ensure availability of storage and marketing tools for infrastructure like ice-boxes, cold storages, ice-plants etc. for small and traditional fishermen. We will promote aquaculture through easy access to credit. We will facilitate farming of sea-weed, pearl as well as ornamental fish to ensure a better return to the fishermen. We will bring all fishermen under the ambit of all welfare programmes and social security schemes with expanded coverage for accident insurance.”

For ‘Using tourism to cluster services’, the BJP’s manifesto maintains, “Within the services sector, tourism will be special focus because it brings together many different service segments. In particular, we will identify specific places of cultural or natural importance in order to develop them as comprehensive destinations instead of leaving them as isolated sites. This requires that we look at an integrated way. We will make an effort to ensure that all these services interconnect. All UNESCO heritage sites in India will be upgraded to international level facilities.”

As regards creating opportunities for the youth, which applies to Goa along with the rest of the country, the manifesto states, “We will create opportunities of employment by providing more support in the 22 major ‘Champion Sectors’ identified as the main drivers of Indian economy. We will optimally leverage the untapped employment-generation of potential of sectors such as defence and pharmaceuticals to take advantage of the opportunities available in domestic and foreign markets.”

In sports sector, the BJP manifesto maintains, “We will map state and district-wise sport talent and strengths, recognise the traditional sporting practices and focus on the promotional specific sports in specific regions. Our government has taken comprehensive steps to develop the culture of sports in the country through the ‘Khelo India’ scheme, and we will continue to provide adequate resources under this scheme to ensure that achievement of declared objectives. Under this scheme, special attention will be given to encourage sporting talent amongst women and tribal.”

The ‘Pension scheme for small shopkeepers’ in the manifesto informs, “We will create an umbrella scheme “Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi  Maandhan” Scheme to cover all small shopkeepers.