New legislation propels the coastal state’s reconstituted Investment Promotion Board to get serious with granting investors the nod they need to move forward.
A New Committee will be Formed to Draft the State’s Industrial Policy
After a prolonged break, the Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board reinitiated work with its new lineup on September 1 by clearing 11 investment projects and devising a roadmap to update the coastal state’s industrial policy. A decision was made to form a special committee tasked to come up with a new strategy to enhance Goa’s industrial production and growth.
The 11 investment projects which received the push forward from the IPB included CMM Group’s logistic park at the Dharbandora Village in South Goa and Delta Corp’s integrated resort and casino complex in the city of Parnem, close to the Mopa Airport.
First in-principle green light by the IPB for Delta’s entertainment hub investment project was announced by the company in December 2020 and the casino operator’s stock immediately rose with 3.16 per cent to ₹ 161.75 then. The Parnem project envisages an electronic casino, hotels, retail zones, a convention center, a multiplex cinema, a water park and some other facilities.
Online Activities on the Rise
Analysis of SevenJackpots proprietary geographical data reveals that the small state of Goa makes a double imprint on online casino sites’ traffic for its size. The moderate Goan population, estimated at just 1.5 million people in 2019, generated 2.0 per cent of organic search traffic during the first four months of 2021.
Thus, it can be deemed that traffic from Goa to Delta Corp’s Adda52, Purewin and other online gambling sites has been increasing, fueled by the Covid-19 related restrictions and lockdowns, but the growth is coming from an initially high base.
A recently published research on the importance of socio-economic factors directly linked the presence of a middle class and the availability of disposable income with the involvement in online leisure and entertainment activities like casual and real money gaming.
Goa’s highest average economic development indicators including GDP per Capita and the state’s Human Development Index (HDI), together with the low poverty figures, suggest a traditionally high online presence.
Lotteries Most Popular
A 2019 exploratory study on the prevalence, patterns, and correlates of gambling behaviors established that every second man in Goa (49.9 per cent) had gambled at least once in his lifetime. Out of the 1514 respondents to the study, 658 or 45.4 per cent admitted to having gambled within the course of the past year.
The most common form of gambling was found to be lottery with 67.8 per cent or 446 out of the 658 current gamblers. More than half (52.3 per cent) or 344 people admitted to playing illegal Satta Matka games, with 136 people saying they do it more than once a month and up to three times per week. Regular participation in illegal draws of more than thrice per week was confessed by 19 people or 5.5 per cent.
This figures come on the background of the abundance of state organized (and legal) lottery schemes in Goa. In 2010, the Goa Directorate of Small Savings and Lotteries switched to online lottery. The move did not include sale of lottery tickets online, but a tracked by central servers distribution operation by state appointed Sole Agents.
The New Clearances Come from a Reconstituted and Enlarged Board
The meeting on September 1 was the first session of the state’s Investment Promotion Board after it was reconstituted in August in accordance with the provisions of the new Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation of Single Window Clearance Bill, 2021. The change saw the IPB grow from 13 to 18 members to include more representatives of the government and private sectors.
The secretaries of tourism, revenue, and power received a place on the board at the expense of IT Minister Jennifer Monserrate and Minister of Tourism Manohar Agjaonkar. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Minister of Industries Vishwajit Rane kept their positions as chairperson and vice chairperson respectively.
The state’s private sector received seats on the IPB in the face of Nilesh Shah from the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) and Swati Salgaocar from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The Goa Technology Association (GTA) through its president Milind Anvekar and the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (Goa-IDC) through its chairman Glenn Ticlo also gained representation.