Quality tourism, tap MNCs exiting China, suggests Goa panel

Panaji, May 9 (IANS) Focus on quality and not volume-based tourism, promotion of start-up firms, improving transport infrastructure, and lobbying hard to attract MNCs which are looking to exit China are some of the recommendations made by economic revival committee appointed by the Goa government to boost economic activity in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recommendations made in the report, which are being studied by the Chief Minister's Office, also include extension of the ongoing moratorium on repayment of loans to a further six to 12 months, merger of all co-operative credit society and lowering of interest rates on loans.

The economic revival committee headed by Goa-based mining magnate Shivanand Salgaocar, also recommends suitable amendments to the The Goa, Daman & Diu Mining Concession (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act 1987, which could permit mining operations, which have been barred since 2018 on account of irregularities in lease renewal processes, to resume without hindrance till 2037.

“What Goa needs is tourism based on carrying capacity and regulated with quality and class tourism rather than mass scale with more ecological footprints putting stress on resources,” the report states, while calling for diversification of Goa's bouquet of tourism offerings.

Recommending a more structured interaction between key stakeholders vis a vis startups, the report also suggests, that while the startup industry has been “deeply impacted” by the Covid-19 pandemic, Goa needs to continue promoting home-grown startups to attract investment into the state and attract established startups from around the country, to move base to Goa.

In its recommendations related to the finance sector, extending the ongoing three-month moratorium “to six months for regular industry and 12 months for the tourism industry” is also a key issue, along with reduction in interest rates.

“Considering that the repo rate and reverse repo rate are now 4 per cent and 3.75 per cent respectively, and the current and saving accounts are available with banks at a cost of 3.5 per cent, the interest on any kind of loans – working capital, overdraft or cash credit facilities – be reduced to 4 per cent or 50 per cent of the existing rates of interest for a period of one year, so that the industries can survive and then revive,” the rport recommends.

The committee has also called for merger of all state co-operative banks, on the lines of the recent merger of major nationalised banks “pointing to the existence of scale economies in the functioning of these critical financial institutions”.

The report also urges the government to step up and make efforts to attract MNCs keen to exit China and attract them to Goa.

“In view of the global trade war between China and few other nations, and the post-Covid-19 shift in global sentiment away from China, there is a likelihood of some leading MNCs trying to shift their supply chain out of China,” the report states.

“While the Indian government will make attempts to attract some of these investments, it is strongly recommended that the Goa government lobbies very hard to attract a few to Goa. Ideally, we should look at ‘Mothership Company' coming to Goa along with its entire supply chain,” it adds.

Double tracking of the Konkan Railway route, starting a Goa-Mumbai boat service, promotion of the upcoming Mopa Greenfield airport in North Goa and an integrated taskforce for planning, transportation and infrastructure would also yield benefits for the state vis a vis tourism, manufacturing and logistics sectors, the report states.



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