Car­ni­val Econ­omy

India Today - - THE STATE OF THE STATES - By Ki­ran Tare

Till 2010, Goa did not have a sin­gle Audi. Now, there are at least 50 Audis and more than 100 Mercedes on the state’s streets,” says Panaji-based busi­ness­man San­desh Sad­hale. The re­mark­able rise in num­ber of high-end cars is just one of the things that jus­tify Goa’s billing as the most im­proved small state as far as its consumer mar­ket is con­cerned. The ris­ing pur­chas­ing power of Goans is lever­aged on three in­dus­tries: min­ing, tourism and gam­bling. These in­dus­tries gen­er­ate al­most 60 per cent of em­ploy­ment in the state. Nearly 15,000 peo­ple in the Rs 16,000-crore min­ing in­dus­try earn Rs 1,800 each daily. The re­sult is that even vil­lagers can af­ford to buy bikes and re­pair their homes. “Min­ing is caught in scam con­tro­ver­sies but the pos­i­tive side of the in­dus­try is that it has gen­er­ated wealth,” says Kirit Ma­gan­lal, an of­fi­cial of the Goa Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try.

Goa Tourism Di­rec­tor Swap­nil Naik’s ef­forts to brand the state as the world’s hol­i­day desti­na­tion has borne fruit. More than 26.42 lakh do­mes­tic and for­eign tourists vis­ited Goa in 2010, a 5.6 per cent growth over 2009 fig­ures. In tourism-based small in­dus­tries, the daily in­come for em­ploy­ees is around Rs 1,500.

The govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to al­low 22 casi­nos in the state has gen­er­ated em­ploy­ment for nearly 5,000 peo­ple. The casi­nos give around 1,000 staff a monthly in­come of Rs 25,000. “Even a Class XII dropout can eas­ily earn Rs 25,000 a month in a casino,” says Shrini­vas Nayak, spokesper­son for CP Group, the largest casino com­pany in Goa.

Dur­ing April 2010 to Fe­bru­ary 2011, 18,555 two-wheel­ers in the price range of Rs 40,000-50,000 and 6,217 above Rs 50,000 were sold in the state. Also, 7,222 cars rang­ing be­tween Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh and 4,907 cars above Rs 5 lakh were sold over the same pe­riod. Ac­cord­ing to the state’s Eco­nomic Sur­vey, over 50,000 ve­hi­cles get reg­is­tered ev­ery year. On Novem­ber 30, 2010, the num­ber of ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered in the state was 7,65,588.

In­creased earn­ings have re­flected not just in in­creas­ing spend­ing but in­creas­ing sav­ings too. Not sur­pris­ingly, there were 556 banks in Goa on Septem­ber 30, 2010. That’s one bank branch for ev­ery 4,000 peo­ple against a national av­er­age of one for ev­ery 14,000.

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