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Govt working to augment revenue, generate jobs: CM

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that his government is extensively focusing on bringing investments for businesses, creating jobs in government as well as private sectors. In an interview with SOIRU VELIP, the Chief Minister also said that the government is exploring options to mobilise additional revenue for the state

Q: At the recently-held Vibrant Goa Global Expo and Summit 2019, you held meetings with various business delegations including 10 from foreign countries to attract investment into the state. Have you put in place a mechanism to do a follow up with them so that the state gets investments in the private sector?

The Vibrant Goa Summit was a great success. I would say that as many as 6,500 delegates participated in the event including 2,500 business delegates from various foreign countries. And as per memoranda of understanding signed between Goan businessmen and foreign delegates besides with some companies from various parts of the country, we are expecting over Rs 1,150 crore worth investments in Goa in the near future. I must thank the media especially to ‘The Navhind Times’ for very positive coverage of the event. I had said in the valedictory function of the event that the government alone cannot bring in investment but we need active support of Vibrant Goa team as well as various industrial associations from the state such as Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tours and Travel Association of Goa, etc. As far as government mechanism is concerned, we have activated the Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board, which will give all the clearances to the proposals which will come before it in 30 days under single window system. With regards to foreign investment, the government has focused on getting clearance from the Union External Affairs Ministry so that there should not be a problem to foreign companies who intend to invest in Goa.

Q: Time and again you have been saying that there is a need to create employment opportunities for Goan youth in private sector and also in government sector. Can you elaborate?

When you say jobs or employment, it will be in government as well as in private sector and also self employment opportunities for youth. We have already passed Goa Staff Selection Commission Bill for recruiting group ‘C’ posts in the departments. We will soon appoint the chairman and members of the panel and probably in next 15-20 days, advertisements will be issued through the Commission for various posts in group ‘C’. As far as technical posts are concerned, the personnel department will give permission to recruit through the concerned department. It is also important to mention here that five engineering colleges have signed MoU with 105 companies which will absorb passed out students on apprenticeship as trainees. Besides that the labour and employment department is going to start counselling-cum-career centre in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). We have also taken various initiatives to create self-employment. As far as job security to youth is concerned, the government is considering on providing the required manpower to various private companies through Goa Human Resources Development Corporation. And if it is succeeded than more than 5,000 jobs creation would take place.

Q: What are the measures that have been taken by the government to mobilise additional revenue for the state to improve poor financial health of the state treasury?

The current financial condition of the state is not created only in last six months since I took over as the

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Chief Minister. It has been so for the last over 12 years. After ban on mining since 2012, there is shortfall in revenue collection. And, whatever loans have been taken by the government, it is spending on infrastructure development and not to pay just the salaries of employees. Major projects have been taken up from 2007 to 2019. The loans that are taken are within prescribed limits. We are also exploring different options to mobilise additional revenue for the state.

Q: During the concluding function of the Vibrant Goa Summit, the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had said that many developmental projects, including Mopa airport work have been stalled by activists and NGOs by filing litigations in courts. What do you want to say on this?

Yes, it is true that destructive activism has been creating hurdles for developmental projects in Goa and I can see there are few people doing constructive activism. Major projects like Mopa airport and others have been halted due to destructive activism and also mining, sand mining and other economic activities also affected due to such type of activism. As far as the Mopa airport is concerned, we have lost one year due to litigation filed by the activists which could be big loss for the state if it is continued so. And, let me tell you that my government is open for constructive protests, and to take positive suggestions from the NGOs and activists in the interest of the state. We have to take care of our environment, but at the same time those who opposing for everything in the name of activism must think about the livelihood of the people residing in that particular area.

Q: What is your take on current situation in tourism sector and how government wants to promote it in a big way in the near future?

A: Tourism department and Goa Tourism Development Corporation with the help of the central government have focused on creating basic infrastructure and providing various facilities in the tourism sector. Goa has played major role in GST council meeting to bring down the hotel tariff tax. I would say that stakeholders like taxi operators, tour operators, hoteliers, and entertainment groups must play important role in promoting tourism by protecting regional ethos and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ ethics. We have also focused on promoting hinterland tourism in Goa. As far as medical tourism is concerned, we intend to provide authentic facilities to the tourists who come here for medical treatment like dental, ayurveda, homeopathy etc. Under this, we will provide information through a website about those medical treatment centres which will be registered with Goa Tourism and the directorate of health services. For that, we will bring amendment to the acts in next assembly session.

Q: Any progress on forming casino policy?

As of now, the casino policy is not finalised. Casinos will operate as it is till the government comes out with policy. We cannot shut down casino industry without any reason.

Q: In last 7 months, you might have held total control on the administration. What will be your priorities in next two-and-half year of your remaining term?

A: My government will try to complete all the ongoing works of various projects. It is also my responsibility to fulfill the promises that have been made in BJP manifesto during 2017 assembly elections. Beside that creation of jobs, completion of super specialty and tertiary cancer treatment centres in health sector. Focus will also be on completing first phase work of Mopa airport, widening of national highway projects, and channelising the work of Mapusa and Margao bus stands.

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