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A REFERENCE ANNUAL
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Area : 3,702 sq km
Population : 14,57,723 (prov. Census 2011)
Capital : Panaji Principal Language : Konkani (Official Language);
other languages: Marathi, Hindi, English, Kannada
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
Goa, known in the bygone days as Gomanchala, Gopakapattam, Gopakapuri, Govapuri, Gomantak, etc., abounds in a rich historical heritage. Early history of Goa is obscure. In the first century of the Christian era, Goa was a part of the Satavahana empire, followed by the Kadamba, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed, the Chalukyas and the Silharas. The empire of the Yadavas by the end of the 14th century was displaced by the Khiljis of Delhi and thus Muslim rule came to Goa. After the discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco-da-Gama in 1498, many Portuguese expeditions came to India.
In 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque with the help of the emperor of Vijayanagar attacked and captured Goa. With the arrival of the Jesuit priest Francis Xavier in 1542 proselytisation began in Goa. However, the Portuguese continued to rule over the territory except for an interlude during the latter half of the 17th century when Shiva ji conquered a few areas in and around Goa.
Even after India’s independence, Goa continued to be in the hands of the Portuguese. However, they could not fulfil the aspirations of the Goan people and ultimately on 19 December 1961, Goa was liberated and made a composite union territory with Daman and Diu. On 30 May 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and Daman and Diu was made a separate union territory. Goa is situated on the western coast of the Indian Peninsula. On its north runs the Terekhol river which separates Goa from Maharashtra and on the south lies North Canara district of Karnataka. On the east lie the Western Ghats and in the west the Arabian Sea. Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Ponda are the main towns of Goa. Goa is currently celebrating the Golden Jubilee of its liberation and 25 years of attainment of full-fledged Statehood.
The total cultivated area in Goa is 160320 hectares while the total production was 108333 tons. A total of 30,632 hectares area was cultivated under paddy during last kharif season. It is proposed to take up soil testing and soil mapping of Queperm and Sattari to know the soil fertility. Budgetary provision of Agricultural Department was enhanced from Rs. 17 crores four years ago to Rs. 70 crores. Several schemes have also been launched by the Government through Directorate of Agriculture to promote farming and attract youth towards this activity. Farmers can avail the benefit of upto 90% on solar power battery fencing scheme. A subsidy of upto 90% is also provided for construction of polyhouses and green houses.
Similar subsidies are provided for drip irrigation and for construction of Biogas plants. In order to enhance the yield of sugarcane it is proposed to provide 90 per cent subsidy on Drip Irrigation. The Government has also taken steps to recognize the contribution from Biogas to contribution of progressive farmers to the States economy by awarding them three State level awards of Rs. 2.00 lakhs, Rs. 1.00 lakh and Rs. 50,000 in the name of Krishi Ratna, Krishi Vibhushan and Krishi Bhushan respectively. This initiative will undoubtedly encourage the farmers to adopt modern agriculture techniques and boost production in Goa. The Government has spent an amount to the tune of Rs. 12.5 crores on extending subsidy to several farmers.
The Tillari Irrigation Project, an ambitious joint venture project under major and medium irrigation aimed at creating an irrigation potential of 21,056 hectares and 117.03 MCM of water for domestic and industrial use is expected to be completed in the financial year 2011-12. For better and efficient utilization of the potential so created, apart from the irrigation purpose it is proposed to supply the raw water to domestic and industrial units in the State and augment its supply to PWD. The Water Resources Department apart from supplying raw water for irrigation has also augmented raw water supply to the PWD. Assonora Water Works has been augmented with a 25 MLD raw water from Chapora river at Sal and 10 MLD from Amthane tank. A total 6 bandharas have been built across Assonora river to augment raw water supply during the lean season. Opa Water Works has been augmented with a 50 MLD raw water fed from SIP canal to Kalay river. 35 MLD raw water is fed from Madei river at Gunjem to Khandepur river. A total 19 bandharas have been built across Kalay and the Khandepar river to augment raw water during lean season.
It is proposed to provide a insurance cover through an insurance policy Scheme to be called as 'Swaranjayanti Aarogya Bima' to the entire resident population of the State similar on the lines of Central Government's health insurance scheme for BPL families called as Rashtriya Bima Swasthya Yojana.
All schemes under the State Industrial Policy as well as the State Biotoch Policy will continue to be in force and will be populatized further. The setting up of Goa IT Knowledge Centre at Verna to provide incubation facilities in the IT sector is proposed. To provide encouragement to artisans of Goan handicrafts, it is proposed to develop Goa Haat-cum-shilpagram, new emporiums in Goa and outside Goa & develop e-portal for the sale of handicraft items across the globe. The Government also intends to set up a marketing centre for women Self Help Groups (SHG) at Margao to provide forward and backward linkages.
INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY
The Departments of Information and Publicity with is a nodal agency for dissemination of information and policies and programmes of the Government, is implementing the scheme such as interest on computer loan to journalists, financial assistance to indigent journalists, Patrakar Kritandnyata Nidhi Goa Journalists Welfare scheme (Pensions scheme); Goa Scheme of financial assistance for films, Songs and Drama Services and others. The Pensions for Journalist has been enhanced from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 4000 per month. It is also proposed to provide a well equipped Media Facilitation Centres at each taluka Headquarters. The Entertainment Society of Goa, a special vehicle has been established for organizing film related activities including organization of International Film Festival of India. A scheme to provide financial assistance to produce films is implemented through this special vehicle.
ART AND CULTURE
The Government desires to give thrust on Library movement in Goa in order to make the libraries as information and knowledge centres. This year Goa is celebrating the birth centenary year of Bhausaheb Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa who was a man of vision. He had established many socio-cultural institutions and patronized them. Two of these include, Vivekanand Society, Panaji and Janata Vachanalaya, Mormugao. In appreciation of their contribution to the society and in honour of Bhausheb Bandodkar, it is proposed to provide a grant of Rs. 5 lakhs each. The Government intends to document all forms of folk art, folk festivals, other cultural traditions and intangible heritage of Goa State, through audio-video documentation, for which adequate budgetary provision has been provided within the existing scheme of Directorate of Art & Culture.
The Government has strong commitment to enhance IT literacy at school level itself, and to strengthen computer laboratories in all high and higher secondary schools in the State. The Education Department is in the process of strengthening the computer laboratories by providing an additional 10 computers, 2 printers and UPS, web camera and internet connectivity. The Scheme of School Computer Laboratories shall be taken on priority for implementation as mentioned above and would replace the Cyberage (EDUNET) Scheme from 2010-11. The Government also intends to implement the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, a Central Sector Scheme in the State.
Roads : Of the motorable roads, national highway constitutes 264 km, state highways 279.4 km and other roads MDR/RR/4501.18 kms.
Railways: Goa is linked with Mumbai, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram through the Konkan Railway, which has introduced several fast trains on these lines. Vasco da Gama is connected with Bengaluru and Belgaum on the South Central Railway, presently for goods traffic only.
Aviation: Mumbai, Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Chennai, Agati and Bengaluru are linked with Dabolim through regular Airlines services.
Ports: Mormugao is the major port in the State. Mormugao handles cargo vessels. Minor ports are located at Panaji, Tiracol, Chapora Betul and Talpona, out of which Panaji is the main operative port. One off-shore berth at Panaji has also been commissioned.
Important tourist centres are Colva, Calangute, Vagator, Baga, Harmal, Anjuna and Miramar beaches; Basilica of Bom Jesus and St. Cathedral churches at Old Goa; Kavlem, Mardol, Mangeshi, Bandora temples; Aguada, Terekhol, Chapora and Cabo de Rama Forts; Dudhsagar and Harvalem waterfalls and Mayem lake resort. The state has rich wildlife sanctuaries, viz., Bondla, Cotigao, Molem and Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao covering an area of 354 sq km.
As decided by the United Nations the Goa Government is celebrating this year as International year of Forests. Goa has a good forest cover of 34 per cent against the national requirement of 33 per cent and nearly 62 per cent tree cover. During the year 6 lakh seedlings were planted and nearly one lakh seedlings distributed to various institutions and industries to make tree planting a peoples movement.
New Rural medical dispensary was established at Keri-Sattari equipped with Pathology Lab, dental and ultra sound facilities. Goa became the first state in the country to launch diabetic registry. The new District hospital at Margao is under construction which once complete will cater to the health care needs of entire south Goa. New District Hospital as Mapusa has been completed. The new 170 bedded ID hospital at Ponda is nearing completion. Other new hospitals at Sanqulim, Bicholim and Valpoi are under construction.
Governor : Dr. Shivinder Singh Sidhu
Chief Secretary : Shri Sanjay Srivastava
Jurisdiction of : Goa State Bench of
Chief Minister : Sh. Digamber V. Kamat
High Court Bombay High Court
State tree: Coconut palm
Under pressure from allies in the government over a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree during its earlier stint, the BJP-led coalition Cabinet passed an amendment restoring the coconut palm in the list of trees and also according it the status of State tree.
“The State government has decided to include coconut palm as tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of ) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees under this Act,” the Cabinet note stated.
The State Cabinet also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “State tree”.
Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, who had taken the initiative in this regard said the new amendment would be ratified in the State Legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session.
“We have restored tree status to the coconut (palm),” Mr. Sardesai said.
The Opposition as well as civil society had questioned the previous BJP-led coalition government for amending the Goa Daman and Diu (Preservation of )Trees act 1984 in 2016 to drop the tree status accorded to the coconut tree. Opponents of the government, which then included Goa Forward Party led by Mr. Sardesai, had accused the government of unfairly hastening real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by selectively allowing mass removal of coconut plantations.
Rabail Qadeer Baig, Dawn, January 14, 2007
AN ancient Konkani saying goes, “Goa tum Roma Udentichem” meaning “Goa, you are the Rome of the East”. One can only agree. Goa is a haven of beautiful islands and exotic beaches. And like they say, throw a stone behind your back in Goa and you would either hit a musician or a tourist. Goa is India’s smallest yet most internationally renowned state for it provides over 50 miles of beautiful, warm, inviting sandy beaches on the Arabian Sea. While Goa’s cities, inland scenery, food and culture are all worth visiting, Goa’s beaches attract hundreds of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists each year, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations.
So here’s a little bit about the land of islands. With a population of 1.344 million residents, making it India’s fourth smallest, the state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Besides its beautiful beaches, Goa has a long rich history stretching back to the 3rd century BC. It is also known for its world heritage architecture, of which the Bom Jesus Basilica is the most famous. The church is located in Old Goa and has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity for it contains the body of St Francis Xavier –– a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Once every decade, the body is taken down for worship and for public viewing. The last such event was in 2004.
Goa has been invaded many a time and the invaders can be described as the Portuguese, the Indians, the loud tourists from the North of India, the crowd that suddenly appears in large numbers on the weekends, and the rich from big cities like Mumbai and Delhi who are literally gorging on property in Goa. Each of them, however, has left a mark on Goa, though it is the Portuguese colonial influence that is foremost in the popular imagination. Apart from that, Goa also has rich flora and fauna owing to its location.
A native of Goa is called a Goan in English. Western English songs have a large following in most parts of Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs too have a sizable following. Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the 19th century, is sung and danced on special occasions. Goa is also known for its Goa trance music.
Jerry Pinto’s Reflected in Water is a mesmerising compilation of short stories, poems, essays and extracts from various published works which bring out the real Goa, which is more than just the world’s favourite holiday destination –– the Goa we hardly know.
“Goa has surprised me … I know that each time I leave, I feel I have left a little of me behind,” writes Pinto in his introduction to the book. With writings, both old and new, by 44 different writers, the book gathers together interesting historical, autobiographical and anecdotal pieces on Goa.
It begins with an eccentric yet captivating Konkani song, representing an attractive mixture of folk culture and western music. The first essay is on how the Indians got rid of the Portuguese nearly five decades ago, and how some of the natives still resent them for they hold in their hearts the memories of the ancient regime.
William Dalrymple rediscovers the remnants of “one of the greatest cities of the Renaissance world” during his conversation with the ancient Donna Georgina, resident of Lutolim, a small village in Goa. “We Goans have a different mentality, a different language, a different culture,” she rails to the bemused British author. One can also find extracts from the works of 16th-century voyager John Huyghen van Linschoten, along with the writings of the 19th-century Orientalist Richard Burton.
The most interesting is a story-cum-comic-strip –– ‘Three Goan death stories’ –– told by some “old crone”, in which three women die horrific yet comical deaths.
Reflected in Water brings to life both the natural beauty and the changing social and political philosophy of Goa. “The azure seas of Goa yield a variety of fresh, tasty seafood and fish. With a pleasant climate and diverse flora and fauna, Goa is a haven of peace and a mix of laziness and nonchalance, a mixture of the past and the future, where beautiful palm-fringed beaches glitter on its shores. Flouring plants and trees grow lush, verdant and fast. Fat ripe fruits like mangoes, papayas, cajus and many others abound,” writes Anibal da Costa, in ‘A Goan potpourri’. Some of the writings also portray the Goans to be very warm, passionate and hospitable people who know their rich historical background and celebrate the beauty and richness of their home. Like they say, you can take the Goan out of Goa but you can’t take Goa out of the Goan.
From Mario Cabral e Sa’s amusing take on the earliest Portuguese women to come to India to Gita Mehta’s description of hippies at Calangute, the book takes the reader on a trip down Old Goa. Prabhakar S. Angle’s essay ‘Misunderstanding Goa’ makes for interesting reading as well. Angle lists all the common mistaken beliefs about Goa which include “overemphasis on the Portuguese connection and the clichéd images” that make it to the media, for example the drinking, the leisurely lifestyles and, most of all, the fun-loving nature of the natives. From Alexander Frater’s interesting account of Goa in the monsoon to Manohar Malgonkar’s limerick about the Mangeshi temple, this compilation marks the “irreverent and the sacred” in equal measure.
Teotonia R. de Souza’s profile of the little-known “opium smuggler who tried to liberate Goa” is as captivating as Frederick Noronha’s portrait of Abbé Faria, 18th-century priest, mesmerist and revolutionary, and one of the region’s most famous sons.
Delightful essays, lyrical poetry and captivating fiction as fascinating as Goa itself are what make Reflected in Water unputdownable. Goa is not only beautiful but also a culturally and historically rich state which is reflected in the thoughts and writings in this compilation. The book is definitely not for someone planning a vacation or a honeymoon to Goa, for it brings out various cultural and social aspects which are more disturbing than mesmerising. ________________________________________
Reflected in Water: Writings on Goa Edited by Jerry Pinto Penguin India www.penguinbooksindia.com ISBN 0-14310-081-5 295pp. Indian Rs395
24% are severely damaged
Goa's beaches, which attract a million tourists every year, are gradually reducing with erosion gnawing away nearly one-fourth of the state's coastline.Around 25km of the 105km of the coastline has been severely damaged by erosion due to natural as well as human factors, water re sources department has said in its latest report. The department's report paints a very bleak picture of the state's coastline with 24% being severely damaged and around 30% suffering moderate damages in small patches.
The coastal belt in Bardez taluka has suffered the maximum damage with more than 7km of the coast witnessing erosion. It was followed by Salcete with over 5km of the coastline vanishing, while Canacona and Pernem lost 4km and 3km of the beach stretch, respectively, the report said.
Authorities have also said that although plans are ready on paper, little is allowed to be executed due to obstruction from locals and other bodies.
Fines for drinking on beaches, cooking in open, littering/ 2019
Those found drinking on beaches, cooking in the open or littering will now be fined. A single offender will have to pay Rs 2,000, while a group will be fined Rs 10,000. On Thursday, the state cabinet gave its nod to amend the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001.
Offenders who refuse to pay the fine will be imprisoned for three months. The proposed amendment will be tabled in the assembly next week, tourism minister Manohar Azgaonkar said. The three-day assembly session starts on Tuesday.
Many tourists carry alcohol bottles with them to the beach and discard them in the sand. Glass shards in the sand have injured tourists. Besides, tourists also drink alcohol and go into the water, increasing chances of mishaps.
Though the tourism department ensures all beaches are cleaned, littering affects governments efforts.
Restrictions have also been imposed on shack operators. It has been proposed that they shall not allow customers to carry liquor bottles or cans in public. Many people buy alcohol from shacks and drink it elsewhere. Some booze shops located near beaches sell alcohol by the peg to tourists, who then drink it standing by the roadside or carry it to the beach.
St. Augustine Church
In the ruins of St. Augustine Church lies a thrilling story of a royal martyr
With its natural harbours and wide rivers, Goa has been a major trade centre for centuries. For the same reason, it has been ruled by many dynasties, starting with the Mauryas in the 3rd century BCE to the Portuguese in the 16th century CE.
In the ruins of the church
While other churches in Goa are well maintained, St. Augustine Church is in ruins. It was built between 1597 and 1602, and is dedicated to Our Lady of Grace by the Order of Saint Augustine. In 1837, the Augustinian friars were expelled from Goa in the aftermath of the Liberal Wars of the 1830s, and the church was abandoned. In 1842, the main vault of the church collapsed and its decay was a matter of time.
The church was built atop Monte Santo (Holy Hill). It has been a couple of weeks since I saw it but the image of the church’s imposing 46 m belfry tower, which is all that remains of the four towers, remains fresh in my mind. Constructed of laterite, it has four floors, all of which are lit by the sun. The grey basalt columns provide a lovely contrast to the red laterite.
The chapels are labelled, so that they can be identified. They must have been richly decorated once upon a time, but now they are bare. In stark contrast is the altar with its beautiful multicoloured Italian tiles and remnants of red and blue paintings.
A thrilling tale
The complex also houses the Convent of St. Augustine, which is now in ruins. There, Vivek Menezes, co-founder and co-curator of GALF, told us about a Queen and her connection to the Safavids. Ketevan (1560-1624) was a queen regent of the kingdom of Kakheti in eastern Georgia. Her son Teimuraz was king, but as a vassal of Shah Abbas I of the Persian Safavid dynasty. When Shah Abbas I threatened to invade Kakheti, Ketevan went to him and offered to be held hostage to prevent bloodshed. She was held hostage in Shiraz in Iran for many years and tortured. When she refused to convert to Islam, she was killed in 1624. She was buried in Shiraz, but two Portuguese Augustinian monks whom she had befriended in Shiraz were privy to the location of her grave and managed to smuggle her body out. She was seen as a martyr as she had died refusing to convert. Her body was exhumed and her remains were taken to Teimuraz in Kakheti. However, when her remains were being shifted to safety amid raids on the region, they were lost. According to a Portuguese chronicle, the Augustinian friars found her right arm and buried it in the Chapter Chapel in St. Augustine Church in Goa. She was then canonised.
The Georgian authorities approached the Indian government to locate her remains in 1998, but it was only in 2004 that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), with the help of Portuguese researcher Sidh Mendiratta, succeeded in finding bone fragments during excavations. DNA analysis confirmed in 2013 that the fragments belonged to a Georgian woman from that time period. In 2017, St. Ketevan’s remains were sent to Georgia for a year. In October, St. Ketevan’s remains were returned to Goa. They are now kept in the ASI museum.
2014:World’s no. 6 in nightlife
Feb 09 2015
Goa ranks 6th in list of `Top 10 Nightlife Cities'
In National Geographic's `Top 10 Nightlife Cities' list, Dublin in Ireland ranked first, followed by Belgrade in Serbia, La Paz in Bolivia, Sao Paulo in Brazil, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Goa In India, Ibiza in Spain, Houston in Texas, Thessaloniki in Greece and Baku in Azerbaijan.
2015: Migrating to Portugal
The Times of India, Oct 25 2015
Lisa Monteiro & Andrew Pereira
Adeus Amigos! The number of Goans who have swapped their Indian passports for Portuguese has doubled in 2015
The first eight months of 2015 saw 2,158 people ¬ on average, almost nine every day ¬ surrender their Indian passports at the regional passport office in Panaji, after acquiring Portuguese passports. That's almost double last year's figure of 1,660 (averaging about 4.5 a day) who surrendered the document. The actual number is much higher since even nonresidentGoans, especially those settled in the Gulf, are surrendering passports at Indian embassies abroad. Portuguese passports acquired greater allure after the country became a member of the European Union in 1986, which now allows unfettered movement and employment across 28 countries; it also allows visa-free travel across more than 170 countries. Among those applying for Portuguese passports in Goa, about 70% are between 18 and 35 years of age, say consultants. In fact, a report released by the University of Oxford in July this year noted that “the only group larger than 10,000 with a common EU country of citizenship and a common non-EU country of birth is India-born Portuguese citizens. This group accounted for just over 20,000 UK residents in the first quarter of 2015“. Many queue up outside the magnificent ConsuladoGeral De Portugal--the Portuguese consulate in Panaji ¬ after college; others notch up some work experience in India or the Gulf before doing so. The religion-wise break up of those applying is 70% Catholic, 20% Muslim and 10% Hindu (as per Census data, Hindus in Goa constitute about 65%, Christians 25%, and Muslims 8% of the population). A changing trend, says regional passport officer AgneloFernandes, is that Goans migrating with Portuguese passports are no longer single males, but entire families. As a result, there's been a big spurt in the number of minors with Portuguese passports. Under Portuguese law, those born in Portuguese colonies before their liberation ¬ in Goa, that would be 1961 ¬ continue to be Portuguese, provided their births are registered in Portugal. Their descendants, up to the third generation, are also eligible for Portuguese passports, which is an incentive for even senior citizens who are otherwise not interested in moving, to get their names registered at the Conservatoria dos RegistosCentrais (Central Registry of Births) in Lisbon. Says Leonardo de Souza, a Goan working in Kuwait, “My grandmother was born in Goa before 1961; both my parents were born in Mumbai. I'll be registering her in order to get Portuguese nationality . If I don't do it now, we'll lose the facility forever.“ The elders are often taken to the UK to look after the grandchildren as child care is expensive. Since dual citizenship is illegal in India, those who want a Portuguese passport have to give up their Indian citizenship. “We work very hard here and remit money to Goa, which boosts the economy , but we are not acknowledged by the government for this. Instead the government wants us to lose our nationality. The right of dual nationality must be considered,“ says Anthony Marquez, who's been living in Berkshire, UK for more than a decade. Mathias Fernandes, who's lived in the UK since his childhood, says Goan Portuguese passport holders who migrated to the UK back in the 1990s and early 2000s were mostly from Bambolim, Siridao and Goa Velha (not far from Panaji) and settled mainly in Swindon and Wembley . Many worked in hotels, on London Transport buses and local factories, but this has changed over time. “Now, educated people from all over Goa are migrating including those who've worked in the Gulf for over decade. You find Goans in their fifities coming to London for work.“ Marquez, who's worked in a railway company in UK for almost two decades, says Goans in the Gulf and on the ship are also considering mi grating to the UK so that the entire family can live together rather than visiting Goa once or twice a year. “The climate here is very bad compared to Goa and there's not much of social life. Many of us would like to return, but we don't know how we'll survive in Goa,“ he adds. Many Goans said they were doing it for their children.
Even if Portugal or Europe is not doing well currently , the Portuguese passport gives us an opportunity to move around the world to seek employment. Living abroad also gives you a better standard of living. Mumbai is going from bad to worse.“
Aware of criticism over their exodus, a Margao-based passport consultant says Goans shouldn't be condemned for wanting a Portuguese passport. “It's a benefit of birthright,“ she points out, adding that an Indian passport holder requires a visa even to visit Sri Lanka, while this document grants easy access to countries within the EU and also extends the visa-free or visa-on-arrival service to more than 170 countries. “It's not as if exiting Goans don't love Goa. It's just that the well-being of their family and the education of their children is more important,“ she says.
2015: 37,199 e-visas, 65 countries’ tourists
A year after the launch of the e-Tourist Visa (ETV) facility, Goa's Dabolim airport has issued a total of 37,199 ETVs to visitors from as many as 65 countries. The facility, which has been extended to citizens of 113 countries, was launched by the Centre in November last year and started in Goa the following month with all processes in place for ensuring smooth and efficient services for tourists seeking e-visa on arrival in the state, a release here said. The ETV data, which is till December 10, 2015, shows that about 7,000 UK nationals have availed the facility at Dabolim airport so far and the footfalls are increasing by the day. Goa Tourism had aggressively promoted the facility at the recent World Travel Market in London and is optimistic that more British tourists will visit the state this season as against the previous years. Russian nationals, who top Goa's ETV seekers' list, have been issued as many as 20,258 ETVs by different airports of the country, the release added. Officials said that, in the current peak season, around 500-600 ETVs are being issued daily at the airport. Foreign nationals who have availed the ETV here in Goa include those from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Malaysia, Jordan, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, UAE, Oman, it said. The inflow of foreign tourists includes those arriving via charters and as Free Independent Travellers (FITs). Opining that FITs are generally big spenders and will be drawn to Goa with the high-end initiatives recently introduced by Goa Tourism, state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said yesterday that "it is very encouraging to see an increase in FITs in Goa". Goa Tourism, which has been marketing tourism to the world by participating in international travel and tourism events, fairs, exhibitions and road shows, has confirmed that results are emerging, especially from those countries where it has made its presence felt. Goa is gearing up for the last fortnight of the year with various events and activities planned across the state, the release said.
The Times of India, Jun 01 2016
An inter-ministerial panel set up by the Modi government to resolve the citizenship issue of Goans who technically became Portuguese nationals by virtue of enrolment in the Central Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths maintained in Lisbon, Portugal, has recommended setting up of a designated authority to decide the status of their Indian citizenship based on whether or not they had acquired Portuguese citizenship voluntarily . The authority , after checking whether the person has migrated to Portugal with the intention of making it hisher permanent home, shall determine if such a person voluntarily acquired the Portuguese billet de identite, a proof of citizenship, or if it was secured only for tourism purpose, without realising the consequence of losing Indian citizenship.
As per Section 9(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, any Indian national who voluntarily acquires citizenship of another country , ceases to be a citizen of India.
Sources said tens of thousands of Goans who have their names entered in the Central Registry may be given a chance by the designated authority to declare themselves as Indian citizens by surrendering their Portuguese nationality . As for those wan ting to retain their Portuguese citizenship, they may be told to apply for a visa for further stay in Goa.
“The issue of citizenship shall be settled by the authority as per Section 9(2) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and Rule 40 and Schedule III of the Citizenship Rules, 2009,“ the inter-ministerial panel chaired by additional secretary in the home ministry B K Prasad, recommended in its report submitted on May 4.
Many public servants, including MLAs and MPs, in Goa have their names entered in the Portuguese Central Registry . A famous case is that of Goa Vikas Party MLA Caetano Silva, who is facing disqualification for fighting polls despite becoming a Portuguese citizen upon enrolment in the Central Registry in 2010.
These public servants maintain that they were enrolled in the registry by `agents' or others without their knowledge. “Their defence, if valid, entitles them a chance to opt for Indian citizenship by voluntarily surrendering their Portuguese billet de identite,“ said a senior home ministry official.
The designated authority will “receive representations; enquire upon in a just, fair, reasonable and transparent manner and submit their report along with recommendations to the Centre for further action,“ the panel comprising officers of the home ministry , ministry of external affairs, legislative department and legal affairs department, recommended.
The purpose behind such an exercise is to protect Goans “lured“ by `agents' into enrolling themselves in the Portuguese registry with the claims that it would entitle them to visa-free travel across 28 member states of the European Union.
According to a government official, many Goans holding Portuguese billet de identite would travel abroad on an Indian passport, with a Schengen visa obtained from the Portuguese consulate in Panjim, and then transit to other EU states by showing their billet de identite. Incidentally , the Portuguese billet de identite also entitles them to benefits like ownership of property in any of the EU member states.