Goa’s economy cannot revive with mining ban in effect

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Panaji, Apr 26 (IANS) With an alarming decline in economic growth in Goas, the state government can no longer afford to sit on the mining ban issue, a survey found.

According to the economic survey released by the Directorate of Planning, Statistics and Evaluation, Goa’s economy grew by just 1.6 percent in 2020-21.

The economy of the coastal state is heavily dependent on manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and mining. While the first two sectors showed a marked decline during the assessment period, the influx of both domestic and foreign tourists was curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research shows that during the pandemic period, the number of tourism-related businesses has fallen to almost zero. On the other hand, mining activities in Goa have been suspended for more than four years.

“The majority of mining-related companies have not been able to switch or diversify their line due to the dismal changes from buyers to their debt-laden assets. Alternative operations to existing mining assets in other states are not easy to come by as there are many challenges of the local populations of the respective states,” said Ralph De Sousa, president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI).

“And for assets such as barges, it is more challenging because operations are typical of the Goa Logistic system. In general, there is also no alternative for the mining activities to replace the employment lost due to the abrupt shutdown of the mining operations 4 years ago There is hope as mining will start soon so throwing out the debt laden asset is going to be tricky.

“The financial situation is deteriorating with each passing day with the continuation of the mining ban in Goa without a firm solution, but hope for a major government decision to restart the mining industry. The state businessmen are witnessing a deterioration of the CIBIL rating and at the same time, financial institutions are facing rising NPAs.

“The immediate resumption of the mining industry in Goa could provide relief from the stressed situation in the state,” he added.

The continuously rising debt of Goa has been an alarming concern for the past 10 years. Relying solely on loans and advances would haunt the borrower over time if the interest element also increases.

Goa’s main economic pillar, mining, has still been dormant for several years, causing not only economic concerns but also hardship for those who depend on it. Ease of doing business has been compromised and further sows apathy in the industrial sector about the way operations, infrastructure, markets, foreign exchange, value addition built entirely by industry from the beginning can deteriorate over time.

The local industry and other Apex chambers have repeatedly expressed their concerns and the desired solutions expected to be taken from the government.

“Considering sustainability, mining should resume as soon as possible,” said Glenn Kalavampara, secretary of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA).

According to the economic survey, Goa’s primary sector accounted for 5.24 percent of the state’s gross domestic product in 2020-21.

Even the secondary sector, which contributed 55 percent to the state economy, saw a decline, and only the tertiary sector or service sector countered the trend with a contribution of 39.72 percent.

The economic activity of the state at constant prices for 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 53,959.86 crore, as against Rs 53,099.57 crore in 2019-20.

–IANS

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