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Can anyone please help to put together an online listing of village-level concerns and issues in time for the upcoming elections. Dr Nandkumar Kamat has raised the issue of "pre-election people's agendas" to reflect concerns of different areas.
For one such (not very comprehensive or representative, but just a preliminary initiative) attempt, please take a look at 
If you could craft something similar for any locality, village, town, city ... we could combine the same at some online wiki and put it out as an online brainstorming exercise. Please try to look at diverse interest groups.
Building a pre-election, citizen-crafted agenda January 7th, 2007 at 5:05 pm (Goa)
Dr Basilio Monteiro (above) and the New York-based St John's University's last weekend's ICT-for-development conference at the Hotel Mandovi saw the raising of many issues — besides just traditional ICTforD themes. As a non-purist, who believes that technology is intricatly connected with real-life, and that we should not pretend otherwise, this was a welcome change.
Dr Nandkumar "The Guy In The Red Shirt" Kamat had many points to make, given his vast and encyclopaedic knowledge. Nandu has a lot to say. Usually. This blogger often appreciates his points (even if we sometimes disagree… and he sometimes takes him time in making them).
One of the very valid points he made was the need for citizens to build up their own pre-poll people's agenda. As Nandu put it optimstically: "When a (political) candidate comes to my house during the elections due later this year), he will not tell me what I will do, (Instead) I will tell him what he will do."
[There's not much time left. Elections are just months away.]
That's optimistic. Knowing the way politics in Goa operates (based on community, caste, emotive issues, shrewd manipulation … including more recently of "environmental" issues) this is unlikely to happen in the near future. But it is a very interesting goal. Who knows, it could be made to happen. One day.
Microbiologist-activist-and-man-of-many-roles Nandkumar Kamat explained the context thus: "Some 35-40% (voters) never go to the polling booth. They make a huge difference (in the ultimate results). We need a people's agenda. A peple's political agenda. Because the Leftists were using the lever (in New Delhi), we got some (postiive) reforms there. Those ruling Goa have no Common Minimum Programme. Instead, here it's a policy drafted by (dream-merchants like those selling the) monorail, skybus… superhighways… things that were never discussed in any five-year plans. These (dream-merchants, and lobbyists) are the people running our government. In the years to come, there will be a mafia ruling Goa's political identity. Take the case of what happened (with hill-cutting at) Sant Estevam, a very fragile island. Even the Chief Secretary could not believe (his eyes when he saw) the photos of what we showed him. How do I expect the rule of law in this state? The law is being purchased."
Interesting points all. Given the deeply-fractured, and easily divided-and-ruled nature of Goan society, there may be pessimism over this working out. But, who knows… Maybe we could try… build a wiki where various inputs are received… and compiled.
Some suggestions from Saligao (FN)
Of course, that's a big job. One could always make a start. What if I was crafting a 'agenda' just for the village I live in, Saligao … currently represented by the deputy chief minister of Goa ,no less (who has done a great job in side-stepping crucial issues over the years)? It might read something like this (an incomplete, one-sided list maybe. Your suggestions are welcome):
- Improve badly neglected public transport in Saligao, specially to Panjim, Porvorim.
- Build badly needed libraries in the village. Never done so far by public authorites.
- Improve educational facilities, specially of weaker institutions (govt primary school, for eg)
- Stop village-level corruption (fuelled often by those protected by politicians)
- Garbage dump on hilltop above community residences a major hazard.
- Agricultural productivity in village needs to be addressed urgently.
- Encourage local entrepreneurship, lack of credit in village is a serious issue
- Career-guidance and drop-out problem need urgent steps
- Activity centre for the elderly.
- Health-care facilities virtually non-existent locally …
- Illegal (or even 'legal') land conversion in villages needs addressing asap.
- Renovation of long-negelected village market place.
- Playgrounds for children in the village (not just big sports complex, as long talked about)
- Commercial water sale from the village needs to be monitored, controlled.
- Drop of village water table (due to above) badly affects agriculturists
- Sharp drop in home-bred livestock needs to be urgently addressed
- Livelihood opportunities for weaker sections need locally-suited solutions
- Opportunities for girl-students needs a special re-look
- Strengthening educational opportunities in the village
- Soil erosion, largely untapped.
- Increasing Saligao's green cover, including diversity of hilltop cultivation.
- Study impact of industrial estate inappropriately sited on hilltop, including wastes runoffs
- Deforestation in some areas, such as Salmona spring locality.
- Noncultivation of village fields, issues need to be addressed, with action
- Inter-community relations needs creative solutions to be improved.
- Telecommunication infrastructure needs strengthening.
- Expat population needs to be better involved in growth and development of the village.
These are just some suggestions. Do add your ideas to the list. Craft one for your own village. If we get a response, we could compile these issues. And try to cover the interests of diverse sections too! FN --Fredericknoronha 11:10, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Inputs from Aldona (Vidyadhar Gadgil)
Let's start making a list and give it to Narvekar:
- Hot mixing of the road from Saloi Patto to Betim.
- Hot mixing of the road from Gawhar (near Aldona PHC) to Nachinola/Uccasaim.
- Introduction of additional KTC buses to Calvim, Quitula and Corjuem.
- Public library.
- Renovation of market complex.
Have stuck to issues which we can see addressed before the next elections. While FN's list is good, it is too general and long-term. Right now (i.e., in silly season, a.k.a. pre-election time) our list should stick to immediate requirements. --Fredericknoronha 11:17, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Aldona: Comments from Cecil Pinto
Below is a list by journalist Frederick Noronha. It basically indicates what he would like (from the Government) for his village - Saligao. Perhaps we, here on Aldona-Net, can also draw up a similar list for Aldona and present it to all prospective candidates before the next election?
I am not regularly resident in Aldona but there is one point I certainly would like to see implemented. Proper garbage bins. I think Sundays is plastic collection day and it is sickening to see people keep plastic and other dry waste for pick-up at the head of their roads and it goes all over the place thanks to the wind and stray dogs.
Also the Aldona Park urgently needs rejuvenation, 10 lakhs was promised many months back by our MLA ar a public function. Not a paise has come in so far and all the improvements in the park have been done by large hearted individuals from Aldona, and NOT the Government.
Then this Library which we seem to all agree on. A highly educated community like Aldona does not have a public library? What a shame!
Many of Saligao's problems are similar to ours. Perhaps we can draw inspiration from their list. --Fredericknoronha 11:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
- Needed: open space and green areas
- Severe shortage of water, electricity and infrastructure in Socorro and Penha de Franca.
- Vehicular pollution and congestion needs check.
- Needed: industries that employ local talent and resources
- Sprouting hutments and slum-type settlements
- Industries in the area should not tamper with environment.
- Public transport in poor shape.
- Education: infrastructure needed for higher education nearby.
- Health issues neglected, in the context of nearby malaria problem
- Garbage disposal site; ban on use of use-and-dispose plastics needed.
- Panchayats: severe penalties needed on those encouraging illegal constructions
- Affordable, racket-free housing needed for poorer and marginalised sections.
- Traditional means of livelihood should be supported -- by creating market linkages, modern inputs, technologies and subsidies.
- Effluents (including glass and plastic) getting washed down from hilltops (Porvorim, etc)
- Bore-wells should be banned: in new townships, plateaus, industries, widely used. --Fredericknoronha 11:36, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Salvador do Mundo, by Dinesh D'Souza, chartered accountant
- Acute lack of transport on Sundays, public holidays
- Water supply and resources in poor shape. Garbage disposal too.
- Need to rebuild agriculture as an employment source
- English medium primary education deprived in area, parents travelling long distances to admit children to English-teaching schools
- IT park being sited in a catchment area, affecting water security of the area. IT park is surrounded by forests (part is in forest land, according to Karapurkar and Sawant Committees, in reality the whole area is in forest land)
- Lack of minimum wages, labour laws in IT park implies locals will not find it attractive to work there. --Fredericknoronha 11:36, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Goa's IT sector... from Mario Alvares
Just my 2 cents but I feel that:
- We need incubation facilities for startup IT companies with low cost infrastructure and high tech features.
- Maybe a single building, renting office space with shared conference room, internet, shipping facilites, etc
- I've heard of setups like this in the UK to encourage small biz. --Fredericknoronha 11:50, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Goa's IT sector... from FN
- Bandwidth, bandwidth and more bandwidth.
- Promotion of home-grown "cottage IT", not just importing companies, staff, needs and markets.
- Incubation centres to enable easy entry by local youth to IT sector (as suggested above).
- Stable and clean electricity
- Creating entrepreneurship among local IT graduates, not just jobs.
- Building Goa as an "IT conference destination", rather than competing with BG, Hyd, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, TVM, etc
- Effective use of computer subsidies, not just "dumping" like Cyberage. Dont subsidise computers for the rich.Only the deserving students should benefit from the subsidies. If that cant be ensured then discontinue the scheme.
- Effective e-governance, beyond slogans. All officials should be responsible to respond via email.
- Functioning websites for all official departments and organisations, regularly updated.
- Clear, transparent and well-discussed plans about connectivity-to-villages, including planning for creation of suitable content.
- Thorough evaluation of Government initiatives on IT, such as Mahiti Ghars and Cyberage.
- Transparency in planning and siting of IT mega-projects and IT policies.
- IT officials should be IT savvy... i.e. should be responsive via mail, sites should be functional, transparency in department, policies and plans and forms and schemes should be easily available online.
- Sincere support to Free Software initiatives, and building Free Software skills among youth. --Fredericknoronha 11:50, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Goa's IT sector... from Fritz D'Souza
My inputs for facilitating IT development in Goa (fritz dsouza)
- Better infrastructure in terms of connectivity and at affordable costs
- Platform for people in the industry to be involved with the education system so that proper talent pool is generated
- Incubators which are not just government-funded but a place where govt and private entities can coexist in the same setup
- Subsidy for new startups who dont want to take incubation route and want to grow outside the ecosystem provided by the incubator
- Subsidy to established players so that they can retain the talent pool they train from being drained out of Goa to places like Bangalore and Pune after they get relevant experience. --Fredericknoronha 12:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Promoting better quality school-education in Goa (inputs from Miguel Braganza/FN)
- English medium [self-financing, if needed] primary education in more schools, instead of creating a Konkani-English divide.
- Better National Open School network in Goa.
- Vocational Skills Training Centre during and beyond school hours in more schools.
- Full-day school with sports, skills, mentoring in the afternoons.
- Greater emphasis on life-long learning for past-pupils, community
- Looking beyond just the current narrowly-defined school syllabus (which is hardly sufficient to cope with life's needs, in a knowledge suffused economy... and on the other hand, involves the cramming of a lot of irrelevant subjects)
- Building life-skills in students young, so that they can depart with more confidence, as they leave school.
- Improved quality of education, by building network of ICSE schools.
- Technical school running after school hours, in current campus during non-work hours.--Fredericknoronha 03:49, 14 January 2007 (UTC)