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Goa Has A Vast Talent Pool Of Opportunities: Rohan Khaunte

Entrepreneurship leads to value creation and job creation, something that the Government of Goa is fully committed to. Rohan Khaunte, Minister for Revenue, Information Technology, Labour and Employment speaks on how he is making Goa as a knowledge-cum-tourist destination

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With the Goa government just about 18-months-old, Rohan Khaunte, Minister for Revenue, Information Technology, Labour and Employment, has initiated a number of reforms in his sector in order to make Goa an IT destination. "IT has become the nodal focus of the government and we want to support, facilitate e-governance into the system. Goa's economic growth is driven by the strong performance of industrial sectors such as mining, tourism, and pharmaceuticals. Tourism is the backbone of the state's economy but we want Goa to be recognised as a knowledge destination combining both IT and tourism sector,” said the minister.

According to the minister, start-ups are the next HNIs and they can contribute to 40-50% of the economic growth of the state. Hence, the government is leaving no stone unturned to initiate the right policies and incentives to ensure that the schemes are utilised well for startups. He also said that Goa has to become a digital state to facilitate its IT ambitions and for that connectivity and networks are very important.

"Facilitating entrepreneurship leads to value creation and job creation something that the Government of Goa is fully committed to. We want to make Goa as one of Asia’s top 25 startup destinations by 2025,” he said.

With the launch of the startup policy in April 2018 and IT policy in July 2018, the minister expects to create around 3,000 jobs in Goa in the next five years. American automotive electronics supplier Visteon (2-5bill$ company) along with talent recruitment and research firm WoW Softech have set up centres in the state. Visteon, the only Tier 1 automotive supplier focused exclusively on cockpit electronics, inaugurated its fourth India technical centre in Goa on November 1.

The state government has brought Intel on board to sign up knowledge-sharing and smart learning projects in December. The Goa Angel Network headed by Shrinivas V. Dempo is supporting and encouraging investments in startups; IT mentor T.V. Mohandas Pai is helping in building a robust IT culture in the state by providing expert guidance and mentorship to startups.

Goa talks about the vast talent pool but it lacks opportunities. “So the IT and startup policy will be able to attract the sons of the soil to their hometown and get additional talent pool which will enhance better growth and investment,” he said.

Another project, Digital Nomads, is a co-working facility at Morjim for IT experts from foreign countries who are looking for a creative place to code and innovate. “People from Israel and other countries come here to set up, innovate and look for spaces so we thought of rebuilding containers near the beach and make this as a facility which will attract tourism and foreign IT experts. This is expected to roll out in December,” he informed.

IIT has set up shops with a centre of excellence at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Goa for 2018-19, investing about Rs 20 crore alongside institutes like BITS Pilani and Goa Universty are also working towards building skill training, AI and ML in the centre of learning and excellence.

 In terms of the infrastructure, the government is coming up with a European Startup and IT village like a Portuguese village in Chimbel on the Kadamba Plateau. The construction will start by March, 2019. It will help set up IT and startup centres. Also, another hybrid electronic manufacturing cluster in Perne, near Mopa Airport in North Goa, is expected to increase the movement of startups and entrepreneurs in the state, giving them the ease of doing business.

The Goa Startup policy gives massive subsidies and incentives to startups which include a one-time grant of $15,373 (INR 10 Lakh) with a promise of the minimum viable product. Not only that, special incentives include reimbursement of up to 50% of the salary for any startup where local youth are hired.

Speaking about the achievements, the minister informed that on December 7, the global players will visit Goa for a VC Summit in the sector for the first time. "Goa startups will change the face of IT & Tourism. Goa has a culture to create, innovate and find success through failures. With 100 registrations by December 2018, we will have more than 100 success stories lined up to mark Goa on the entrepreneurial roadmap," he said.

A few of the success stories of Startups would be: Goa-based Synapse Information Services has tied up with HDFC bank to specialize in annual reports, quarterly reports, sustainability reports, and analyst presentations. Arcis Clean Energy is a pioneer of electric vehicle tourism in India and has partnered with Goa Tourism to build the country’s first EV Tourism ecosystem to allow tourists to explore their favourite destination in a clean, green and non-polluting way.

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