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The elected representatives did not get a mandate to take loans on behalf of voters. Therefore, the government must arrest inflation.
or us, the people of Goa, this possibly is one of our proudest moments in the recent past. We now have in our hands, our very own manifesto, a vision document for the next government that comes to power. It’s a culmination of the very first stage of a long journey. The People’s Manifesto, prepared by Team Herald, is the work of the people of Goa. Due to the short span of time at our disposal, we have accepted, studied and compiled thousands of suggestions sent by lovers and believers of Goa, on how our land should be administered and governed. When we commenced this exercise, we were honestly circumspect about its success. The people of Goa may have issues with the politics of today but they have a fine grasp of what Goa needs and how these needs should be delivered. There is a clear message that candidates promising to implement the People’s Manifesto will get a look in. Others will be rejected. Most importantly, though this people’s document is being introduced just before the 2012 assembly elections, it is by no means an exercise that is limited or an end in itself. We do not claim that this is the perfect people’s document. Nor do we say that that the aspiration of every Goan, finds mention in at least one line in the manifesto. But we can humbly claim that a broad canvas of issues that are closest to the hearts of most Goans has been touched upon. And the biggest thought that acts as a huge banyan tree protecting all of us, is that the next govern-
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ment and the next, should protect the basic identity of our land and our people. That is the reason why all land related issues dominate the beginning of the People’s Manifesto. And almost every issue is in some way linked to the essence of Goan identity which is being forgotten. At the same time, the people of Goa look to the future to be at par in terms of education, health, industry and infrastructure. This manifesto will be in the hands of all parties. Any other candidate wanting a copy is welcome to collect it from the nearest Herald office in Panjim, Margao, Ponda or Vasco. From day one of the new government, Herald, on behalf of the people of Goa will follow and monitor the governments’ efforts on issues on the manifesto. This will be a dynamic document and will be periodically updated based on continuous feedback. Lastly, this manifesto has been prepared on the basis of inputs from so many Goans here and abroad. We have in some places redrafted and put them into perspective. But this is well and truly a People’s Manifesto Let us be prepared for lots of work. If we ask the government to be accountable, we must participate and do our bit to get the best out of the People’s Manifesto
SUJAY GUPTA editor
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GOAN IDENTITY IS UNDER SEVERE THREAT The government must go that extra mile to ensure that the Goan identity does not turn out to be a mere concept.
With Goa emerging a global tourism hotspot, many visitors want to own a piece of Goa even those on job-related transfers. Eventually, a significant number of people visiting the state end up purchasing flats or residing long-term in the state. While Goans always welcome visitors, there is a need to have adequate reforms related to land and property so that the basic identity of Goa and its people is maintained.
Regional Plan Send the plan back to the people again since the currently notified Regional Plan 2021 does not reflect the true aspirations of Goans. The Regional Plan 2021 should have a clear Land Use policy, especially with regard to agricultural land. Stop buildersâ€™ destruction of land on slopes and hilly terrain. Projects without any parking, 24-hour water supply facilities, garbage collection and garbage treatment facilities must not be given license. Public and environment- friendly planned development is a must. Immigrants possessing second holiday homes in the State and remaining unoccupied must be
There must a proper mining management, by ensuring a mechanism to detect illegalities, if any, in any form. Efforts must be made to have sustainable mining. Those who have lost their means of income must be rehabilated by providing them with alternate mode of earning their livelihood. Beneficiaries of mining leases which have expired must be directed to restore the land to its original glory. There should be severe crackdown on illegal mining. Those involved, including senior politicians should be criminally prosecuted.
Land reforms Land reforms must be introduced with the enactment of the new Land Acquisition Act drafted by the Goa Law Commission. The old land acquisition policy has caused untold misery, resentment and fear amongst Goans. It is evident that the Land Acquisition is primarily aimed at fattening the purse of a few. Highways should be shifted to the hinterland, avoiding densely populated
Land reforms must be introduced with the enactment of the new Land Acquisition Act drafted by the Goa Law Commission.
areas, thereby benefiting remote areas which are inaccessible.
Candidates must make their stand clear with regard to Regional plan 2021 and clarify whether the candidates will support conversion of fertile paddy fields.
Planned development No more mega projects in villages, as the village infrastructure cannot endure the pressure of such projects, and the resultant garbage and sewage disposal crisis. Candidates must make their stand clear with regard to Regional plan 2021 and clarify whether the candidates will support conversion of fertile paddy fields, or save the same for our future generation. Development must be planned without destroying environment and hurting Goan sentiments. All towns should have green lungs. Sports facilities, with modern international standard infrastructure must be provided.
Seamenâ€™s pension The government must approve and sanction the long standing demand for a special pension fund scheme for Goan Retired Seamen and their widows.
Communidades The government must restore and re-empower the Communidade sys-
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SPECIAL STATUS MUST BE GRANTED FOR GOA The government must restore and re-empower the Communidade system. Land taken on lease must be returned back to the communidade on completion of the lease period.
tem. Land taken on lease must be returned back to the Communidade on completion of the lease period. Claims of tenancy on communidade land must be returned back to the communidade, if the tenant has kept the land fallow for three successive years.
The election manifesto of the candidates must have a demand that Nehru's solemn promise to ensure Goan identity is maintained.
Medium of Instruction The choice for Medium of Instruction must be left to parents alone. This is in keeping with Article 30 (2) of the Constitution which reiterates that, : “The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.” It means that a language which the minority considers as its language cannot be discriminated against, as far as funding is concerned. Also, it must be noted that English is the second official language of India till date, since Hindi is not spoken by more than approximately 14 per cent of the population. In fact, it was English which united majority of the middle class English educated freedom fighters in the freedom struggle to throw off British dominance. According to Article 345 of the Con-
stitution, “English language shall continue to be used for those official purposes within the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of this Constitution.” Therefore, parents and the society have the right to determine the language in which their children will be educated. Even fierce nationalists such as the Germans, the Japanese and now the Chinese have taken to English due to pragmatic and business interests.
Article 370 "Article 370" must be made applicable for the state of Goa just like J&K and some north-eastern states. The election manifesto of the candidates must have a demand that Nehru's solemn promise to ensure Goan identity is maintained. Special status for Goa must be granted for the State.
Right to property People from slums when given apartments, sold their apartments and went back to the slums. Same is the case of land to the tiller, where tenants abused the legislation to sell their freely acquired land. The government must ensure that our ancestral houses are safe
from being torn down in the name of acquisition and public interest projects. If land is encroached when one returns from abroad, the government must assure repossession of the land.
E tendering In a bid to arrest corruption, the government must re-orient the tendering process for award of public works by Etendering all Government works/ supplies. By this, the tender is opened at the last minute, so that the contractors do not get a chance to conspire and form cartels. Under this process, there’s need to stop all quotations, short tenders and limited tender businesses. The technical examination, vigilance audit etc must be strict and effective.
Panchayats An end to the bribe culture prevalent in panchayats. No bribes should be taken for the work done . Each panchayat must display the list of beneficiaries of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee act)
Master Plan for Old Goa The government must come forth
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with a Master Plan for Old Goa. The plan has been hanging fire for near two decades with various departments, including the Town and Country Planning Department, dilly-dallying on the issue. This is a clear case of builders’ lobby at play. There’s pressure exerted by the real estate lobby, which continues to devour new areas in Old Goa. The government ought to identify parking and other potential areas for pilgrims and acquire these areas before land sharks gobble them. Shipyards, illegalities and other projects have surfaced on internationally acclaimed heritage sites. The novenas and the Feast of St Francis Xavier should not clash with IFFI
CRZ The Government should ensure that dwelling units of the traditional occupants of the coastal region in Goa are not affected by CRZ. At the same time the CRZ regulations should be strictly implemented.
Stop Inflation The major cause of inflation is borrowings and creating loans to the tune of Rs 4500 crore. The elected represen-
tatives did not get a mandate to take loans on behalf of voters. Therefore, the government must arrest inflation. The government claims that they are committed to development, but has not asked from where they will get the money and how it would be spent and paid back? This must be specified at the time of sanctioning projects.
Forest The Government should bring maximum land under forest cover, offering protection and conservation of the existing forest, in order not to affect life support system of water, air, soil and ecology of the State. The Western Ghats under Goa State Forest Department jurisdiction should be protected so that the tiger population, which is on the verge of extinction, could be increased. Afforestation should be encouraged all over the State.
Social Welfare The Government should constitute a Tribal Advisory Council, having Gawdas, Kunbi and Velip community representation, to look into tribal welfare. Similarly, there’s need to have Scheduled Tribe representation in the Leg-
islative Assembly. Due consideration should be given to native Goans from ST community for government jobs.
The Constitution reiterates, “The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.”
Water Every winning candidate must come up with a Plan as to how they will sort out the potable water problem in Goa, specifying the deadline of commissioning the project in question at least in some major talukas.
High level appointments Goa should be given as expeditiously as possible a truly independent status, as one of the constituent of independent states of the Republic of India. Therefore, immediate steps should be taken have, as far as possible Goan officers in key positions that involve dealing with people on a day to day basis Where such personnel are not available, an immediate training programme should be started so that Goans are appointed to such positions. However, there should be a presence of central cadre officers too.
Agriculture Encourage contract farming, form
medium of instruction}
For a two week fiesta of International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the government is ready to squander crores of rupees attended by less than 10,000 delegates, but it cares a heck to lakhs of people visiting Old Goa during the feast and novenas.
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SAVE OLD GOA FROM REALTORS
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There have been instances where sonic booms (as a result of naval pilot training) have frightened away tourists. It is imperative therefore that the defence authorities move away from being a nuisance to civilians under a democratic set up.
more cooperative societies and purchase more tractors, power tillers, fertilizers, seeds including horticulture to be given at nominal rates. The Government should treat Agriculture and Horticulture as an industry and save our agricultural lands from real estate builders and from turning into a garbage dump. The government ought to motivate people to growing vegetables, rice or other grains, which can be grown on Goan soil. This will help Goans to have locally grown vegetables at reasonable prices, and also help to reduce dependence on other states for vegetables. A full-fledged Agricultural College should be set up in Goa, where our youth learn scientific techniques in farming and horticulture. This should be open even to farmers. Khazan land should be debarred from acquisition proceedings. The government also should have a have a ‘vision document’ for the development of agriculture.
The government ought to motivate people to growing vegetables, rice or other grains, which can be grown on Goan soil. This will help Goans to have locally grown vegetables at reasonable price, and also help to reduce depending fully on other states for vegetables.
SEZ All land acquired by the government for the proposed SEZs must be reverted back to the Communidades. No SEZs for Goa.
Tourism An end to nefarious activities like drug trafficking , child abuse and flesh trade, so that our youth are saved from the malaise.
Education Restructure and re-orient the education system since the existing end result is merely churning out thousands of graduates, with no specialized skills, rendering them unemployed. Therefore, the need is to create more skilledbased jobs, so that our children start moving away from the stereo type of B Com / BA etc. Unless jobs are created, the education system will not change. We need new avenues to be created in the job market, which will drive the education sector into different streams.
Transparency/accountability The government offices must be transparent in their functioning. This is especially true in Mamlatdar office and the Land Survey office, as people are forced to give bribes to get their work carried out. Some officers are on sick leave and never show up, or their power is given to someone else. People
who are not educated have a hard time to write applications. There should be forms for people just to fill out the details and sign, instead of drafting everything on their own because they have no clue what to write. This apart, a notice board should explain all procedures to obtain certificates/documents. At the panchayat level, bribe culture for work sought to be done must be eradicated. Each panchayat must display the list of beneficiaries of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee act) etc
Lokayukta The Lokayukta must be established within one month of the new government taking over.
Ecological Restoration Plan An Ecological Restoration Plan is the need of the hour. This has to be implemented in areas destroyed by man-made ecological imbalance. River Sal, for instance, must be cleared of all plastic waste, aquatic weeds and waste water discharge from buildings that have come up along the sides of the river bank. Likewise, Saipem Lake too must be cleaned of the sewage contamination.
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JOBS MUST BE BASED ON GOAN ANCESTRY Migrants seeking to participate in the election process must be empowered to vote only in the place of their birth, thereby implying that they have no right to vote in Goa.
Jobs must be linked to Goan ancestry
stalled with security cameras.
The Government policy on employment should be such that Goans get jobs on a priority, and these jobs should be reserved for people who were either born in Goa, or those whose ancestors were born in Goa. In private and other organizations, 75 per cent of the jobs should be reserved for those who are domiciled in Goa for at least 20 years. This must be implemented in toto. Though the existing norm of 90 per cent job reservation for locals is existing in industries, in reality the rule is flouted with the government hardly keen to see that Goans are employed. Employers prefer outsiders since the labour is cheap. All advertisements related to jobs must be first published in Goan papers, unlike the existing trend where employers publish ads in out stationed papers for jobs in Goa. While allotting jobs, the government must respect all religions and proportionately give government jobs.
Road safety/Security Improve safety on roads by means of modern infrastructure including installing traffic signals, road under bridge etc. Public places must be in-
All state government hospitals like GMC, Asilo and Hospicio should have the best infrastructure, particularly to deal with emergency cases. There ought to be accountability from every department of the hospital with a mechanism to ensure that the erring staff is penalized. Morgue facilities in all Government Hospitals ought to improve. Hospitals must install a waste management plant. The level of hygiene and cleanliness must be upgraded. Since many are struck by cancer, an Advance Cancer Detection Centre must be set up. All wells (private and public) must be checked for quality of water annually and necessary action to be initiated. There ought to be cleanliness /garbage collection facilities on beaches, cities and villages. Urinals/toilets must be set up in various villages at regular distances.
Voting for migrants Migrants seeking to participate in the election process must be empowered to vote only in the place of their birth,
thereby implying that they have no right to vote in Goa. This will curtain migrant voting en bloc, which influences/ swings voting pattern and nullify the Goan sentiments at elections. Since migrants are here for a living and have largely no commitment for the state, they ought to be banned from having any voting rights in Goa, if they have rights elsewhere. Likewise, immigrants, unless born in Goa, must be debarred from contesting elections.
Non-Goans take their posting in Goa with the primary objective of promotions, and once promoted either return back to their original place of work after a few years, or settle down here, even availing other benefits of land by projecting their kinship to defense personnel.
Industries We need non-polluting and service sector industries, such as call centers. Goans are known for their hospitality and most of our children speak English, but unfortunately all are working outside Goa due to lack of adequate opportunities. Every political party ought to specify with facts, figures, estimates and targets, as to how they are going to go about improving the employment scenario in the state. It must be made mandatory for employers in these industries to have a bare minimum wages, which will attract the Goans to be employed at the work place.
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WE BREAK NEWS, AT DAYBREAK
With 61,826 copies per day, Herald is Goa’s largest circulated English daily (Source – ABC – period Jan 2011 - June 2011).
Herald also has a readership of 1,20,000, per day. We also have various supplements and pages aimed at bringing the world to your breakfast table and an e-paper that is read by Goans across the world