We are one of the richest states with high per‑capita income. Our focus is on good governance and innovation. We are making efforts to bring about sustainable and all-round development in the state, says Laxmikant Yashwant Parsekar, Chief Minister, Goa, in coversation with Sameer Kochhar,
Sameer Kochhar: What have been your achievements towards inclusive growth in Goa?
Laxmikant Yashwant Parsekar: We started Dayanand Samajik Suraksha Yojana when we came to power in 2002. Dayanand Bandodkar was our first Chief Minister. This scheme provided for a pension of Rs.500 per month to senior citizens, which was later hiked to Rs.1,000 and thereafter to Rs.2,000. The idea was that while a government servant after retirement enjoys the benefits of pension, there is nothing similar to this in the private sector. Today, all citizens of Goa above the age of 60, are entitled for state pension. Nearly 138,000 beneficiaries, including widows and disabled, have benefitted from this. We have another scheme, Griha Aadhar Yojana, that started in 2012, entitles every woman, whose family income is less than Rs.3.5 lakh per annum for a financial assistance of Rs.1,000 per month. This was later increased to Rs.1,200. By September this year, it will be further increased to Rs.1,500. More than 127,654 persons have benefited from this. Under Ladli Laxmi Yojana, each girl child under the age of 18, irrespective of her parents’ income, gets Rs.100,000, which can be used for higher education, wedding or even for setting up a micro-enterprise. We have schemes for milkmen, fishermen, artisans and so on. Every student in 11th Standard for instance, is eligible to get a laptop. During the earlier regime, the scheme provided for desktops. Practically, every household has benefitted under this scheme which has been going on since 2002.
SK: Does the state also provide subsidies?
LYP: For instance, our subsidies include—75 per cent to procure a cow and rest, loan without interest; minimum support price of Rs.10 per litre of milk, and so on. Others benefiting from support price include coconut and cashew nut growers and farmers growing paddy. In case of fall in prices, their financial interest is proteted.
SK: How are these schemes implemented?
LYP: These schemes are implemented by either Social Welfare Department or Directorate of Women & Child Development. We have ensured that the money is transferred directly to the beneficiary account linked to Aadhaar and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
SK: You plan to launch health insurance scheme. Elaborate.
LYP: On 30 May 2016, which is our Statehood Day, we are launching Deen Dayal Swasthya Sewa Yojana—a health insurance cover for every citizen of the state who has been a resident for minimum 5-years. With this, a family of up to 3 is given a cover of Rs.3 lakh and a family of 4 or above gets a cover of Rs.4.5 lakh. Patients are free to select a hospital of their choice—empanelled government or private. The scheme will be rolled out on 15th August 2016. This provides for universal health coverage irrespective of income. The scheme provides for a pre-loaded card, which a patient can swipe at any empanelled hospital. In case, the limit is exhuausted, the patient will never be denied medical services. The only difference is, he/she will be treated but at a government hospital only.
SK: How did you get the inspiration for this?
LYP: We are the only Government Medical College which could ‘import’ good surgeons, super specialists by offering pay packages matching the private sector—unheard of in government, but we did it. Of course, at that time Manohar Parikkar was the Chief Minister and I was Health Minister. It could be made possible only because of his support. In days to come, I want to create independent blocks with full fledged different super speciality treatments.
Goa was liberated 14-years after India, we missed two of the Five Year Plans. I remember, we used to borrow even the primary teachers from Maharashtra or Karnataka. My English teacher came from Kerala. Today, we have surpassed these states in the field of education. We may be small, but our teachers are qualified and are in great demand outside Goa.
SK: Has your background as Health Minister earlier helped you construct these schemes better?
LYP: During my term as Health Minister, I increased the seats of MBBS from 100 to 150 and nursing student’s capacity from 50 to 100 and introduced post-graduation in nursing. I also started 5 courses in allied health science including Bachelor in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Optometry and Medical Imaging to help students who could not get admission in MBBS. After we came to power, my government announced its intention to start cardiac super speciality facility in Goa Medical College. I was flooded with calls—Dr Naik from US, who is an alumnus of Goa Medical College volunteered to return to Goa. There were others like Borkar and Manjunath Desai who came forward. We invested in super speciality and within a span of 2 years have successfully performed over 6,000 procedures.
SK: What kind of work has been done for economic enablement helping people get better livelihoods?
LYP: We have Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is a financial institution. After BJP came to power, we started a scheme called Chief Minister Rozgari Yojana—by which we provided loans to the extent of, before 2002 upto Rs.2 lakh for under qualified and Rs.5 lakh for qualified—it was later increased to Rs.25 lakh across the board. 50 per cent of amount was interest-free; the rest attracted an interest of 8 per cent. This year, we introduced a compoment of 25 per cent subsidy in it. This is a collateral or guarantee free loan—available only to persons of Goa origin. This has helped create over 6,500 entrepreneurs and our recovery rate is nearly 90 per cent. I remember, the day we launched the scheme and organised a camp in my constitutency, 41 people enrolled. However small, a seed for 41 entrepreneurs was sown and we have not looked back ever since.
SK: What is the Public Grievance Redressal mechanism in Goa?
LYP: We have Public Grievance Department, which is an independent department where grievances are heard and replied to. Besides, all our MLAs in their constituencies, attend to grievances. Every Tuesday, I keep an open session for public in the Assembly. I go to my constituency every alternate Thursday—every 15th day. We are most accessible to our citizens all across the state.
SK: How are you faring in terms of e-Goverannce?
LYP: Most of our certificates—income certificates or caste certificates are issued by Collectorate or Deputy Collectorate via e-method only. We are the first e-Assembly in the country. Scholarships, grants or even support price for farmers are disbursed through DBT. All across Goa, e-tendering has become the norm.
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