log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday WEDNESDAY MARCH 29, 2023 GOA Imported cashew nuts, a tough nut to crack for stakeholders Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday 13 pages PRICE ` 8 2 The Goan (Playstore) PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VIII, NO. 280 3 GOA CM nullifies Shah’s statement, says no consent given to divert Mhadei river Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 INFO Effective home remedies and lifestyle tips for meningitis Eco Survey gung-ho on Goa’s story, pegs growth @10.33% CITES MOPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTES, TOURISM POLICY, MINING RESTART AS DRIVERS OF GROWTH THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Goa’s economic growth rate, at current prices and quick estimate method, is forecast to be an ambitious 10.33 per cent in the 2023-24 fiscal in the Economic Survey presented to the Goa legislative assembly by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday even as it said it was 9.11 per-cent in 2021-22. The Manohar International Airport at Mopa has been cited as the chief driver of such a robust growth rate. Some of the other factors cited by the survey for the growth rate are the setting up of Higher Education institutes, policies made for tourism and the anticipated resumption of mining activity. While it pegged the State’s gross domestic product in 2021-22 at Rs 80,000-odd crores, the economic survey said it will be Rs 90,641.86 IN SHORT >> HC orders closure of 161 shacks PANAJI: In a major order, the Panjim bench of the Bombay High Court has directed closure of 161 shacks in the Candolim-Calangute beach belt for operating without ‘consent’ from GSPCB. The court has directed Collector North and GSPCB to file compliance report by April 5. Massive jump in Covid cases in Goa PANAJI: Covid raised its ugly head again as 87 new cases were reported from 878 samples tested. With 24 recoveries, active Covid count of Goa stands at 290. Truck falls at the foot of Karmalghat CANACONA: Barely two days after the Centre sanctioned Rs 4.9 crore to widen the narrow NH66 road at Karmalghat following a road mishaps, a truck fell on its side at the foot of Karmalghat. WEATHER >> Max: 33 C Min: 20 C Humidity: 75% TIDES Low: High: 09:05 21:38 01:50 16:32 Goa’s public debt nearly ` 2K crore 2 PANAJI: The Economic Survey has projected the State’s aggregate public debt as per the Budget estimates to be Rs 21,940.46 crore as of March 31. It was Rs 20,824.86 crore last year (March 31, 2022 as per revised estimates) and Rs 17,952.34 in 2021. The State in the current financial year received from the Centre Rs 2000.63 crore into the Consolidated fund, and an additional Rs 1,914.23 crore through the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) account. It projects the fiscal deficit this year (2022-23) to be Rs 3,603.10 as per budget estimates, a grim scenario it having jumped from last year’s revised estimate of Rs 2.542.13 crore. The actual fiscal deficit was 2,775.55 crore in 2020-21. crore as per advance estimates at current prices. It also said, the per-capita income in the State had risen to Rs 5.27 lakh in 2021-22, following a consistent upward trend since 2017-18 when it was Rs 4.54 lakhs. GOA STARING AT DEBT TRAP >> See pg 3 On other human development indicators, it said Goa’s birth rate had dropped to 9.72 per thousand population from the 11.66 per thousand population rate of 2020. The birth rate is estimated at mid-year and takes into account live births. Another significant factor noted in the economic survey is decline in rural population, a trend noticed since 2011 with an average decrease of 1.15 per cent over the previous decade. According to the survey, the State estimated population in 2023 stood at 15.75 lakh with female population marginally higher than male at 50.4%. It cites the Population >Continued on P5 Good news for STs, quota likely by 2027 elections Proposal mooted for 4 seats, says Sawant THE GOAN I NETWORK MAPUSA Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said his government has the interest of Scheduled Tribe (ST) community and will try to reserve assembly constituencies for the ST before the next assembly elections in the State which are due in 2027. Sawant also said the Director of Tribal Welfare has sent a proposal for ST reservation of seats in four assembly constituencies in the State. “We are very clear that the ST community should get reservation. We don’t want any injustice to be done to the community. We will make all efforts to ensure the ST gets representation by 2027 assembly elections,” Sawant said. Raising the issue during the Question Hour, Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas sought details on the status report sent by the Director of Tribal Welfare and whether the government was intending to reserve seats for ST. Viegas said for the last 20 RESERVATION: ROAD AHEAD Govt has written to Election Commission for readjustment of SC/ST seats CM says existing status of Assembly as delimited by then Delimitation Commission cannot be changed till the next delimitation exercise which is due to be taken up after 2026 As per Census 2011, out of 40 constituencies, four proposed to be reserved for STs and one for SC community Director Tribal Welfare has identified Mayem, Sangem, Priol and Quepem CM says study needs to be done and seats will have to be reserved depending on the concentration of STs in the area years Goa has only one seat reserved for Scheduled Caste while the ST community has got no such representation. Sawant said the government had written to the Election Commission for readjustment of SC/ST seats. “The existing status of Assembly as delimited by the then Delimitation Commission cannot be changed till the next delimitation exercise which is due to be taken up after 2026 as mandated under the Constitution of India read with provision of Delimitation Act 2002,” Sawant said. He further informed that as per the Population Census 2011, out of 40 Assembly Constituencies, four constituencies were proposed to be reserved for ST communities and one for SC Community. The Director of Tribal Welfare had identified Mayem, Sangem, Priol and Quepem as the 4 constituencies. He informed that a thorough study needs to be done and seats will have to be reserved depending on the concentration of ST people. 60% of last Budget announcements still unfulfilled, reveals report PANAJI: The Budget Speech for the financial year 2022-23 that contained a significant number of announcements for the development of various sectors has a significant portion undelivered by the State government. The Action Taken Report on the last Budget tabled in the House on Tuesday indicated that over 60 percent of announcements have remained unfulfilled till date and that action has been initiated against 164 such announcements. >> See pg 3 Deadline to link PAN-Aadhaar now till June 30 PTI NEW DELHI The government on Tuesday extended the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar by three months to June 30 to enable people comply with the mandatory income tax provisions. The deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar was ending on March 31. As per the income tax department, failure to link the two unique identities will lead to the unlinked PAN becoming inoperative. There have been demands, including from political parties, for giving more time to people to link PAN (Permanent Account Number) with their unique 12-digit identification number Aadhaar. “In order to provide some more time to the taxpayers, the date for linking PAN and Aadhaar has been extended to June 30, 2023, whereby persons can intimate their Aadhaar to the prescribed authority for Aadhaar-PAN linking without facing repercussions,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Earlier also, the government had extended the deadline several times due to requests. 9 SPORTS India beats Kyrgyz Republic 2-0 to clinch Tri-Nation trophy 13 Church sets eyes on vacant heritage Hospicio hospital Writes to govt to hand over parts of the building for proposed healthcare centre THE GOAN I NETWORK MARGAO The over 150 year old heritage Hospicio hospital building left vacant for over a year ago after the shifting of the hospital services to the new South Goa district hospital, is in the news, but for a different reason. With the Archdiocese of Goa & Daman writing a letter to the Director of Health Services to hand over parts of the Hospicio building for a proposed health care centre, all eyes are focused on the government how it will go about to utilize the heritage building, from where Fr Antonio Joao de Miranda had started the hospital to cater to the needs of the society over a century and half ago. Director of Health Services, Dr Geeta Kakodkar confirmed that the Directorate has received a letter from the Archdiocese, requesting for possession of part areas of The Hospicio hospital heritage building at Margao. Hospicio for the proposed health care centre at the building. She, however, hastened to add that it is for the government to take a call on the matter. The letter from the Archdiocese assumes significance and comes against the backdrop of the fact there’s been a clamour from citizens at large that the health care centre should be set up at the heritage building to cater to the health needs of the people. That’s not all. The heritage Hospicio building has been lying unutilized since the time the hospital services were shifted to the imposing South Goa district building over a year and half now, with fears raised in many quarters that the heritage building may crumble for want of upkeep and maintenance. Other than the blood bank and minor services, officials conceded that the old Hospicio building has remained idle, with the government dilly dallying on taking a decision how to go about utilizing the structure. >Continued on P5 Bills governing land issues take centre stage in House Government introduces five such Bills THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Multiple bills governing land issues, including the legislation which seeks to restrict transfer of agricultural land holdings to non-agriculturists, were introduced in the Goa legislative assembly on Tuesday. Revenue Minister, Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate introduced The Goa Restriction on Transfer of Agricultural Land Bill, 2023, which imposes restrictions on transfer of certain agricultural lands to preserve current paddy cultivations. The bill makes some exceptions like transfer in case of inheritance or in case of individuals who being a non-agriculturist but intends to take up cultivation as a profession, provided it is done within the first three years of the transfer. Another bill introduced by Monserrate seeks to amend the 1961 legislative diploma related to the Code of Comunidades which besides tweaking the election and eligibility laws of the Comundiade man- Revenue Minister Babush Monserrate and TCP Minister Vishwajit Rane have a word after introducing the new Bills. NEW BILLS: WINDS OF CHANGE The Goa Restriction on Transfer of Agricultural Land Bill, 2023 Bill seeking to amend 1961 legislative diploma related to the Code of Comunidades The Goa Regularisation of Unauthorised Construction (Amendment) Bill, 2023 The Goa Town and Country Planning (Second Amendment) Act, 2023 The Goa Highways Law (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2023, aging committees, also inserts a provision which permits leasing of the body’s land to State government departments for public projects. Monserrate also introduced yet another piece of legislation -- The Goa Regularisation of Unauthorised Construction (Amendment) Bill, 2023 >Continued on P5 Govt cancels licences Govt faces heat as report on forest fires not yet out of 18 pharma firms FOREST FIRES: FACTS & FIGURES Sawant moots THE GOAN I NETWORK PTI NEW DELHI In a major crackdown against the manufacture of substandard drugs, central and State regulators conducted joint inspections at 76 pharma companies and cancelled the licences of 18 of them for producing spurious and adulterated drugs, official sources said on Tuesday. SPURIOUS DRUGS The inspections were carried out across 20 states and Union territories in the past 15 days, they said. A source said the action has been taken against 76 companies in the first phase of a special drive against the manu- facture of substandard drugs. “Licences of 18 pharma companies have been cancelled for manufacturing spurious and adulterated drugs and for violating GMP (good manufacturing practice).... Besides, 26 firms have been given show-cause notices,” an official source said. The sources said as part of the special drive, the regulators have identified 203 firms. A majority of the companies are from Himachal Pradesh (70), followed by Uttarakhand (45) and Madhya Pradesh (23). Recently, questions have been raised over quality of drugs manufactured by India-based companies. In February, TN-based Global Pharma Healthcare recalled its entire lot of eye drop allegedly linked to vision loss in US. PANAJI he State government’s inquiry into the cause of the raging fires in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary remains inconclusive even a month after its outbreak. This lack of clarity raised concerns among the opposition benches, who demanded a House Committee to investigate the matter. “We haven’t received a report to determine if the wildfires were man-made or due to natural causes,” the CM said in reply to Goa Forward President Vijai Sardesai’s pointed question about whether the State suspects foul play. The ruling and the Opposition benches came together to discuss the issue as MLA Ulhas Tuenkar raised Calling Attention on the second day of T 418 acres of forest area were affected due to forest fires compared to 587 over the previous five years 3,751 incidents of forest fires reported between January and March 15 77 fires were detected in the month of March alone Higher reporting of forest fires in Goa were from March first week Extreme weather conditions recorded with no or scanty rains since mid-October Above average temperatures and very low humidity also recorded the Legislative Assembly citing fear and anxiety among the people regarding forest fires from Canacona to Sattari and Mhadei wildlife sanctuary. “There are mountainous forest areas which are inaccessible to firefighters, where fire trucks cannot reach. It becomes very difficult for fire- fighters to control fires in such areas as the fires spread in an uncontrolled way and this results in delays in putting out the fire...Steps the government intends to take to find remedy to the situation…” he further said. While the House applauded efforts by the local populace 2019 report sidelined: Opposition PANAJI: The State came under criticism for not considering reports by local experts apprehending unprecedented wildfires could hit Goa. “Government is fully responsible for this fire. They did not consider the report and moreover, Chief Secretary did not take measures”, AAP’s Venzy Viegas lamented. Sardesai also took a dig at government’s wasteful expenditure adding, “In 2019, there was already a warning…Rs 46 crore was allotted but not a rupee of the allotted funds was spent on preventive measures.” St Andre MLA Viresh Borkar suspected that the fire could be a “deliberate attempt” as he hinted at the conversion of forest areas for developmental projects. and the agencies to douse the flames, the Opposition also sought clarity on the government’s claim that there is no mass destruction of flora and fauna. “Large portion of our forest belt has been lost and it is permanently damaged. I believe it will take more than 100 years to get replenished,” Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao said during the discussion that lasted for nearly two hours. NDRF camp PANAJI: In the wake of the forest inferno, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant proposed setting up NDRF camp in Goa for prompt availability in case of similar incidents in the future. Sawant proposed demarcating 25K sq mtrs in Bardez. However, GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai was quick to object to “giving away Goan land to central agencies.” Claiming he is not satisfied with the government’s reply, he demanded an unbiased probe such as a committee headed by a retired Judge as >Continued on P5
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