Herald: Govt should include industry in decision making: Caculo

Govt should include industry in decision making: Caculo

08 Jul 2019 03:41am IST

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08 Jul 2019 03:41am IST

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Chairman and managing director of Caculo Group, Manoj Cauclo has taken-over the reins of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industries for next two year. VIKANT SAHAY met with him to know what he wants to bring to the table for the overall development of the State

HERALD:  The last 15 months there has been hardly any movement in business space in the State. How will you take up this challenge?

MANOJ CACULO:  Yes, for the last year and a half, Goa has been undergoing through very unfortunate phase, unforeseen too, but we all had to face it. Now that the worst is over, it is time for us to look forward.  We have a young team which shows progressive mindset to take Goa forward.

HERALD: what about your team at GCCI?

MC:  After a lot of tenures an election has taken place at GCCI and that is because we felt that everyone should get a chance rather than me who was elected unopposed. We have made sure that in my team there is a representation from wide spectrum of industry whether it be manufacturing, taxation, women, logistics, food processing, agriculture, automobile, real estate. Normally GCCI has about 17 committees but my plan is to realign some of the committees for better delivery. 

HERALD: What will be you relationship and expectation from the government?

MC:  One thing is for sure GCCI will not be a sitting duck and accept anything which comes. I have been very emphatic in conveying that we want inclusive governance. Trade and industry plays a very important part when it comes to decision making and it would be very unfortunate if government on its own takes a decision and thrusts it on industry. The right way would be to include us in the decision making and let us sit together and come out with solutions. GCCI can be a nodal body which can express the feeling and expectations from the government to the government. 

HERALD: What are your immediate priorities?

MC:  There are priorities in every sector. If I talk about industrial estates, industries are facing problems of water, power, infrastructure etc which has to be addressed as soon as possible. In tourism sector, there is a huge disconnect between the State government and tourism bodies because Goa has to be marketed in a different way as per the requirement of the industry whereas government is trying to do something which is not accepted by these tourism bodies. 

There is a question of jobs for thousands of people and government has to take a decision on mining imbroglio. On taxation issue which is Goa specific, particularly the GST on hotels are still placed in a very high slab and we will be talking to the commissioner of GST in Goa to give our representation on this. It is not fair to compare the rates of the hotel rooms with metro cities. Goa being a tourist destination, there should be some relief both to the hoteliers and the tourists. I am not sure whether there can be a special package, but GST Council should have a re-look into this issue. Since barges and truckers have gone cold after mining ban, I would like to deliberate upon how a cold chain can be developed in Goa and we should be ready much before the Mopa airport comes up. If we start working on it, we will get a head-start. 

HERALD: As far as Ease of Doing Business is concerned, Goa needs to work on it a lot. What are your anticipations?

MC:  Undoubtedly. There is lot desired but now I think that the direction from the Chief Minister and present dispensation is very clear. The industry minister also said that they are serious and they want to focus Goa as an investment destination. He has revamped the health sector and we have the same expectations from him. 

HERALD:  About the disruptive elements, particularly some NGOs who oppose any new projects. What is your stand on these activities?

MC:  I think that trade and industry is not going to take these things lying down. Yes, constructive criticism is welcome. If there is a polluting industry coming up then please come and stop it. We will be the first ones with the govt not to allow any polluting industry in Goa. However, just because a few people get together and call themselves an NGO, you cannot stop projects. Whether it is a garbage issue and we require a proper system to dispose hazardous garbage. In real estate, no one wants projects to come up. I can understand that regulations are required and RERA has helped but you cannot say that real estate projects cannot come up. As population increases, development of the State has to take place. Similarly, employment and industries want people otherwise trade cannot function. Now I understand that priority has to be given to Goans for these jobs but if there are no Goans available and they are not willing to take up that job which is offered to them then you cannot stop the industry. I would like to point out to all that there are Goans who are also working outside the State and country. The govt has taken a very strong stand and I would like to communicate to the govt that trade and industry is with the govt as long as they act tough on all these elements which are disruptive in nature and in the same breath I would say that constructive criticism is most welcome. 

HERALD:  Is there a connect between the academia and industry?

MC:  GCCI has already initiated a process involving academia and industry together for last two years. We are asking the industry to sit with the academia and conduct programmes so that the communication on the needs of the industry is proper and that is why the skill development centers are very important as the syllabus cannot be changed overnight. The Chief Minister has already announced that Goa is working very strongly to ensure that the skill development centers come up. 

HERALD: Personally, what will be your focus area?

MC:  One of my areas of focus would be about the fate of small traders. We only talk about big industries like mining, tourism, manufacturing etc but we always forget about the small traders like the brick and mortar shops who are also members of GCCI and basically it started with the traders. They have small problems like parking, municipalities, taxes levied by municipalities, garbage disposals etc which we will consider this as a focus and there will be a special team which will handling these problems because they do not have the infrastructure and voice. GCCI will be the nodal place to help all the small retailers in Goa as they must get the opportunity to grow and we will do the handholding.

HERALD: GCCI is a 111 year old organization in which your great grandfather was also the president. How do you plan to carry on the legacy? 

MC:  It would be unfair to compare with those times as there were hardly any industries at that time, it was probably just trade and I have no records available with me of those days. My great grandfather, Mahadev Caculo was also the president of the GCCI during 1941-47. It was before India and Goa’s independence. However, as a member of a family it is a very proud moment and that is why I have a two pronged responsibility, one is to meet the aspirations of the trade, industry and commerce body in Goa and also to ensure that my family legacy is taken forward in the right direction. 
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