If reports in a section of the press are to be believed, tourism woes have come to haunt the state once again. Unruly tourists going wild on the beaches and disturbing the peace and tranquility of the state is nothing new to the ears. But to believe that even the harrowing period that the world finds itself in, due to the COVID-situation has not dissuaded people from persisting with the same obnoxious habits time and again is something that is highly discouraging. But should one infer that opening up tourism vistas in the state during the pandemic was an unwise move by the government! For a state that is woefully short of resources to withstand the economic downslide that is now a global phenomenon, the easing of restrictions on a number of activities to boost its economy should not been seen as an impulsive step. Of course, despite the best of efforts, the state has not been able to rein in the spiraling cases of infections. The record spikes in recent days would have had the more cautious among the people ruing the decision by the government to open up its borders. With the mandatory COVID-test no more a prerequisite for visitors coming to Goa, apprehensions may run high among the locals. But when seen from a larger perspective, the government cannot be faulted on its resolutions to take these vital steps with an eye on normalizing the overwhelming situation. Moreover, the state has to have earnings to sustain itself and its people! Sitting behind closed doors will not solve the problems. The state government is already under fire from the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry for poor performance vis-à-vis the ease of doing business index, as Goa slipped further in rankings. According to the GCCI, far from attracting new investments, the government seems to be bent on making the going tough for the existing industries. With such insinuations it would appear that the government has been rather tentative in its approach with regard to improving its economy. As of now, living with the virus appears to be an inevitable choice.
As much as the onus is on the people to take precautionary measures to keep themselves safe, the government is duty-bound to get the state’s economy back on track!
PACHU MENON, MARGAO