Narayan Bandekar – President GCCI elaborates on the trade and industry scenario and his vision for the GCCI
Shri Narayan R Bandekar, Chairman and Managing Director NRB Group of Companies, needs no introduction to the citizens of our port town or state. He has contributed significantly towards various projects and activities for the betterment of the quality of life of our town. Now elected unanimously for a second term as President Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Vasco Watch elicited his views and vision as the head of this organisation that represents trade and industry in Goa.
The Chamber is a multi-sectoral association representing trade and industry in the State of Goa and its main aim is to protect and promote the interest of trade and industry. Simultaneously, the Chamber also works for socio-economic development of the State and its people. Though there are many sub-committees of the Chamber giving focused attention to various sectors of the economy, as President of the Chamber it is my job to decide a vision for the Chamber and co-ordinate the efforts of all the sub-committees for achieving the objectives. This it does through liaison with several State as well as Central Government through different forums.
In September 2012, when the Goan economy was just beginning to come out of the impact of global recession, it was struck a body blow by the ban on mining. Mining was the backbone of Goan economy since the forties and the ban affected not only the mining and related sector but affected all businesses even beyond mining.
I took over as President of the Chamber in June 2013 in such a depressed economic scenario in the State. At that time the primary concern was to ensure that the State Government withdrew the ban it had imposed on mining, put in place a transparent mining policy, dispel fears of lease owners as all leases had expired after 2007 and to prevent all illegalities that have happened in the past and have brought disrepute to the state, so that regulated mining can begin. ECs that were withdrawn had to be restored. Given the depressed overseas prices for the Goan ore, for mining to be economical it was necessary to get the export duty reduced. Chamber pursued all these issues incessantly and we were able to resolve all these issues. Now we expect the mining activity to start sometime soon and my efforts in this term will be to ensure that mining operations are conducted smoothly, because there are still many issues that may crop up.
While we have concentrated on mining for quite some time, it is necessary now to focus on improving manufacturing sector, because ultimately it is manufacturing that can provide sustained employment opportunities for our youth. An attractive new Investment Policy for Goa is announced and we are already getting many good proposals. To sustain the existing industry and to attract new investments, we need to improve the infrastructure in the State. Creation of new industrial estates, improvement in quality of power and water, good bridges across Zuari, Mandovi and other smaller rivers, good roads, good telecom connectivity etc., are vital for the growth of Goan economy. So in this term, my team and me will focus on this aspect.
Tourism sector is the single largest contributor to Goan economy. While currently we get about 30 lakh tourists , there is a reduction in arrival of foreign tourists. We need to improve the profile of tourists visiting Goa. For this we must create world class family entertainment infrastructure like theme parks, museums, convention centres etc. We need to take care of our garbage which is putting foreign tourists off, law and order incidents are increasing, Goa is acquiring a bad name because of the drug scene etc. We will pursue these issues also.
Other major issue is a mismatch between academia and industry in Goa as a result of which Goan youth have to go outside the State to get employment. This is causing some kind of demographic imbalance. This also needs to be addressed seriously.
So all in all these are the few issues that I want Chamber to take lead in addressing during my second term as President. I have a capable team and I am sure the Chamber , together with all other associations will partner the Government in addressing all these issues for sustained development of Goa and Goans.