Goa IT professional Group (GITP) is a group of around 8000 IT professionals of Goan origin spread across the globe. The group has been proactively pursuing the dream of putting Goa on the IT map of India. GITP members and passionate Goans Vincent Paul Toscano, Industry Principal at Infosys Technologies Ltd., Pune, Gurudev Naik , Consultant at Capgemini Professional Services, Mumbai spells out their worries and share their dreams for IT in Goa in a brief tête-à-tête with Digital Goa.
What according to you are the major reasons why Goa failed to bank on the IT bandwagon?
Our perennial singular focus on tourism and mining for immediate and easy economic gains while making excuses to avoid long-term investments into intellectual industries like IT-ITeS is the root cause of our current situation. Unlike other natural resources the human intellect of any place is not fixed in time but can be developed to the required levels with right inputs over time. If only our Goan authorities had realized this over the past 20 years and invested into educational advancements and intellectual industries like IT then today Goa would have been an IT-ITeS powerhouse, probably even the Silicon Valley of India.
If IT has to receive a boost in Goa what needs to be done on priority?
This requires a clear vision crafted around Goa’s peculiarities and a strategic roadmap to achieve it which we have been missing all along except for some poorly designed efforts.
Brain drain problem has grown to a disproportionate proportion in Goa.
Throw some light on this for us.
Lack of local employment opportunities have resulted in about 90% of all engineering graduates and at least 2/3rd of all other graduates leaving Goa immediately or within the initial 2 years of completing their education in Goa leaving behind a poor quality workforce. In the absence of a well-planned and articulated marketing effort by successive Goan governments to promote Goa as an attractive IT-ITeS destination most companies have continued to view Goa as unviable and risky. Add to that some false perceptions about Goans being “susegad”, drunkards and even criminals – thanks to Bollywood’s Goan stereotypes, Goan tourism related crimes in past few years and at times our own pride in our “susegad” tradition – despite Goans working the hardest and being successful in various fields outside Goa. Lastly it includes local Goan unawareness of IT-ITeS causing ill-informed opposition over trivial matters including concerns over its adverse effect on Goan Tourism.
Reasons why big names in IT industry have generally refrained from setting their shops in Goa .
Reasons include those covered in response to the previous question like lack of governmental vision and roadmap, relatively weaker workforce available in Goa due to brain drain, poor perception about Goans despite they being hardworking and successful outside Goa, and, the ill-informed local Goan opposition to IT-ITeS.
Additionally, it involves the precedent set by most other Indian IT-ITeS hubs which began by offering corporates vast tracts of land at extremely cheap rates to attract investments. With barely 10% of Goan land resources available for human habitation and non-mining economic activities, Goa does not have such luxury at its disposal. The political instability of some earlier Goa governments have played a role in weakening investor confidence in Goa. Over the years other Indian IT-ITeS hubs have grown tremendous economies of scale while Goan power supply, internet connectivity and other public utilities have not kept pace with time. Lastly Goa has largely missed out on the Indian IT-ITeS expansion to Tier II-III cities and towns.
Workaround to putting Goa on the map of preferred IT destinations
However it is better late than never and all these constraints and misses can be addressed through innovative solutions and incentives articulated in a well thought-out IT-ITeS policy with a strong professional underlying framework to effectively implement it. No denying that Goa will have to work very hard and create a radically different and highly attractive model for Indian IT-ITeS corporates to get interested in Goa.