Local companies are miffed at the State government over tenders being awarded to companies from outside Goa. Local entrepreneurs feel that even though they are better than the ‘outsiders’ the Goan companies are being left out of the tender award on ‘flimsy grounds’. VIKANT SAHAY spoke to stakeholders in this sector to find out more
Despite all the talk of Make in Goa, Goa IT Policy and reversing the Goan brain drain, the State government has been shy to give away government contracts to local companies. The companies have vouched that they have complied every norm and at times they are better than the actual winner of the contract, but they are hardly awarded any projects.
Recently Goa government awarded a ‘healthy heart’ project contract for STEMI Goa to a non-Goan company even though an advanced, cost-effective and much superior solution has been developed and implemented by Kallows, a company headquartered in Goa, who had previously been awarded the tender for the project.
Local companies struggling on their own and hardly getting any support from the State government are miffed that even small government projects which are advertised through tenders are been given away to non-Goan companies.
“How did a Bangalore company get approved when it did not participate in the tender process and when it does not have the necessary certifications? Despite the Prime Minister asking high-tech Goan companies like us to Make in India, the end result is we were excluded. This result also defies the processes set up by the Central government which states that MSME’s like ourselves should be given preference while awarding government contracts,” said Ganjanan Nagarsekar, MD of Kallows Engineering which makes portable ECG machines in Goa.
He further added that freebies and doles provided by the government do not help businesses and hence the same should be kept at the minimum level. Also, business allotted to local companies accumulated Goods and Services Tax (GST) within the State. The same tax collection helps the State in revenue generation and to pay for its functional cost.
Kallows has a totally home grown team of 15 plus engineers, investment from a Goan industrialist, a granted US Patent, numerous awards by the Government of India and Goa CM’s office (among others) and supports many projects larger than STEMI Goa across India.
Ricky Noronha, director of the Online Productivity Solutions Pvt Ltd (OPSPL), one of the oldest IT companies of Goa said, “We were once the last two finalist bidders in a project for a very large public sector company in Goa. The other one was a large Indian infotech giant. Our technology and expertise was appreciated and was even used to frame the final tech. Yet, when it came to the final decision, we were disqualified on the count of being too small a company.” This incident took place about ten years ago.
The president of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Sandip Bhandare believes that there should be opportunity for Goan companies to compete on a fairer ground and at least a minimum amount of contract should be made available for Goan companies. The GCCI has already raised this issue with the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) and Goa Electronics.
“Goa as a state must encourage its own entrepreneurs to develop. It is very important that not only financial activity takes place in the State, but also the economic activity has its space. The spill down effect of any business generated from Goa should be made available to Goans, subject to them matching the price,” said Sandip Bhandare, president of GCCI.
President of Goa State Industries Association (GSIA), Rajkumar Kamat said, “I believe that the State government should go out of the way to set up a system and processes and ensure maximum business to Goan entrepreneurs. The government has come up with fantastic schemes and there are several subsidies. It has been drafted very well and people need to utilise them and people need to know it.”
Goa Technology Association (GTA) is a body of over 70 IT companies in the State which are into high-tech software and hardware development and majority of them are making big names worldwide.
President of the GTA, Mangirish Salelkar said, “States like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana have taken an awesome initiative to support start-ups and technology companies. All government department websites, innovative projects and other maintenance tasks are shared with these companies. Government of Goa should first look at the potential of our local companies and make sure that we are given preference.”
Vice president of Goa IT Professionals (GIPT), Vincent Toscano said, “While Gujarat, Telangana, Kerala and other progressive states have modified their procurement rules to promote local start-ups, our Goa government continues with its archaic ones which have historically been misused to give away local projects to outside companies. Some of these companies deliver bad quality of work and disappear thereby wasting precious public funds. It is high time that the Goa government walks the talk and stops giving lame excuses.”