Goa Technology Association (GTA) on Sunday expressed its surprise over the state government’s decision to come out with a new startup policy. Some startups are yet to benefit from the existing policy and the Goa IT Policy too, has not been fully implemented, GTA said in a statement.
Mangirish Salelkar, president of GTA, suggested that the government should continue with the existing policy which was drafted along with the inputs from former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar.
He said, “GTA has not yet been invited to be part of any drafting committee. We need to understand the need to revamp the policy.”
Further, he asked the IT department to utilize the funds allocated for the IT parks to sustain startups which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis. GTA members said that productivity has been hard hit due to poor last-mile internet connectivity and despite raising these issues with the government, telcos, and ISPs, the problem still persists.
“Instead of approving crores to design consultants for project consultation of the IT park, if even 10% of that amount was to be disbursed to existing IT or startup companies, and to improve the infrastructure and last-mile internet connectivity, we would have been in a position to create so many jobs,” Salelkar said.
Salelkar claims that the industry had sought support from the chief minister and minister for IT, Jennifer Monserrate, but despite assurances, nothing had changed in reality.
“We have also had a video conference with the IT minister and director of IT, wherein we put forward our issues and presented suggestions for the industry’s revival. They promised to get back to us on it in two or three days, but we haven’t heard from them for the last two to three months,” he said.
On the other hand, Salelkar also acknowledged the tole of IT director Ankita Anand in helping the industry with travel passes during the lockdown. The pandemic has forced startups to re-evaluate their business plans and they are forced to implement pay cuts; job losses and deferred payments from clients have cracked the backbone of businesses, he said while urging the government to take GTA into confidence while taking policy decisions.