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Panaji, Feb 20 (IANS) A non-polluting information technology (IT) manufacturing industry could well be the answer to Goa's woes after the dire straits the state's ban-hit mining industry is in.
"IT manufacturing industry is non-polluting. It will not affect the environment much. It is aspirational. A mine worker will always remain a mine worker, but here there is an opportunity to grow. And it can employ a lot of people, without occupying too much space," J.V. Ramamurthy, president of Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology (MAIT), said at a national workshop here.
He also made a pitch for Goa as an IT manufacturing hub.
Mining has been banned in Goa for over four months now after the Supreme Court, hearing a petition by activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, announced a probe by a centrally-empowered committee into Goa's illegal mining scandal and rampant destruction of forest cover.
"Goa presents a huge opportunity for the state to become an electronics hardware manufacturing hub to meet its domestic as well as global requirements," Ramamurthy said, elaborating on the need for self-sufficiency in manufacturing in the country and low dependence on imports.
Ramamurthy said Goa might not have many engineering colleges but the "thousands of diploma holders" who pass out of the state's educational institutes are many and would form quite the kind of workforce necessary for IT manufacturing companies.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has already said IT and IT-enabled services would be one of the thrust areas of industrial policy expected to be unveiled soon.
Parrikar has said Goa wanted to do with IT what Verghese Kurien did with the dairy sector in Gujarat -- by starting IT co-operatives throughout the state.
Presently, only a handful of IT companies have set up base in Goa including Digisol, Smartlink Network Systems, Persistent Systems and Siemens.