The evidence is there to see as just a little over a fortnight after presenting the Budget in the Assembly, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant chaired a meeting of government Secretaries and selected Heads of Departments to review the action taken on Budget assurances. With 84 government departments having already sent in their vision documents for the year, it is quite possible that the government’s target of getting as much as possible done by December 19 this year, when the State celebrates its 60 years of Liberation, could just be achieved. This of course depends on whether the otherwise slow-moving government administration rises to the occasion and delivers as is envisaged by the political bosses.
The first major deadline is Statehood Day – May 30 – and that’s when the Goa State Mining Corporation is set to roll out. The procedure to set up the corporation has begun and the Chief Minister has assured that it will be all completed by this day. In addition, the government has identified 122 Central government schemes, and while some of these have been implemented, proposals to implement the remaining have been sent to the Government of India. One excellent decision is to move government offices that are currently functioning from rented premises to vacant government buildings. This will result in huge savings for the government that has been in some instances paying exorbitant amounts in rent to private parties for the use of their premises. It is absolutely logical for a government to shift its offices to its own vacant buildings, rather than paying out from the taxpayers’ money for rent of premises.
It does not stop there as the government has also put on the rails the convention centre of international standards that is due to come up in Dona Paula. The convention centre is a promise that is much over a decade old and has been renewed at almost every inaugural session of the International Film Festival of India. It had earlier even been announced that the opening and closing ceremonies of the 50th festival of 2019 would be held at the international convention centre. But the project failed to see the light of day. Though there is no deadline affixed for the project, this is one centre that Goa has felt the need of, not just since the State has been named the permanent host of the International Film Festival of India, but also because a facility of this nature can develop the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) tourism sector that Goa requires to boost the industry.
Another directive from the government is to complete ongoing infrastructure projects by December this year. It is the government’s wish, already expressed earlier by the Chief Minister, that the Swyampurna Goa initiatives get completed before this year’s Liberation Day. Hastening up the pace of the projects is welcome, but simultaneously it has to be ensured that the quality of work does not get compromised. Meeting the deadline but with shoddy work will not benefit anyone. It will have just the opposite effect. Yet, in a State where the people are used to seeing the government delay all decisions and projects, this sudden spurt in activity is a welcome measure. Will, therefore, the sluggish government machinery get into high gear in the coming months to deliver on what has been promised? If it does, then we will know for certain that the government can deliver when it so desires.