Subsidies for Cashew farmers in Goa get lukewarm response

PANAJI: While there are several schemes for boosting industry in Goa, it appears that local unit owners are not interested in taking advantage of these schemes, according to the government.

Latest information reveals that most incentive schemes (there are five) are receiving a poor response from the industry. The schemes have not been able to achieve the targeted goal of encouraging the industry with the exception of the Chief Minister’s Rojgar Yojana (CMRY) Scheme.

The Goa State Employment Subsidy Scheme is a prominent scheme set up for the purpose of providing financial assistance to local units employing Goans. The Directorate of Industries, Trade and Commerce (DITC) gives no information on the number of units availing this scheme and a cross-section check reveals that few industries have got incentivised through the scheme.

Official sources said that cashew processing units are the primary beneficiaries of the scheme, as they employ village women and fulfil the condition of 80 per cent employment to locals. “There are few Goans seeking employment which means that unit owners have to employ outsiders. And so the scheme finds few takers,” said the source.

There is a suggestion from the industry that the 80 per cent local employment norm be brought down to 50 per cent for more units to avail of the scheme. Industry is also asking for simplification of the documentation process to take advantage of the scheme.

The Capital Contribution Scheme, Interest Subsidy Scheme, Financial Incentive for Certification and Patenting are the remaining schemes facing a lacklustre response on account of several reasons.

In 2016-17, an amount of only Rs two crore was spent on the five above-mentioned schemes and in the current financial year, the government has increased the capital outlay on the schemes manifold to Rs 20 crore, perhaps in the anticipation of a surge in takers.

The performance budget 2017-18 of DITC was recently tabled in the state assembly. A glance at the performance budget document shows that non-financial incentives such as trade fairs and exhibitions are organised along with entrepreneurship development programmes for the industry. However, response to them is equally discouraging. In fact, the entrepreneurship development programme received zero response with not even one recipient in 2016-17.

Unit owners said that no prior intimation was given about the programmes and sometimes they were not aware of them.

Lack of response from the local units to the incentive schemes is apparently making the government lose interest in the schemes. The government is cutting back on the targeted beneficiaries. For 2017-18, the government has slashed the targeted beneficiaries to 1,000 people from 2,000 in the previous year.