Tuesday 21 May 2024

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Why not also….; Mr Michael Lobo?


We, the People, also gracefully digest these bizarre financial solutions as insane citizens. Because Goa has adopted pervert tourism.

Michael Lobo, the two-time BJP MLA and first-time minister, is known for making bold and controversial statements. And being a Calangute MLA, he rightly represents the heart of Goa’s beach tourism. He knows what type of tourists come to Goa and what needs to be done to attract more such tourists. While admitting that Goan economy is in shambles, he has now proposed how tourism can be further promoted to bring the economy on track. And also how a common Goenkar can help generate more revenue.

Number One: Don’t shift a single casino vessel out of six from river Mandovi. In fact build a much tighter mechanism through the Gaming Commissioner to control the ongoing cheating at the gaming tables, so that maximum numbers of gamblers win. That will bring more such ‘high end’ tourists which Goa supposedly needs.

In addition, bring more casinos vessels in the rivers of Chapora and Zuari (at least two-three each). Though locals are presently opposing it, eventually they will realise how casinos help generate employment and self-employment. Also, don’t shift a single casino vessel from river Mandovi to the proposed Gambling Zone at Mopa airport. Build entirely a new set up for more casinos at the airport. This would obviously bring many more high-end tourists to Goa.

According to Michael Lobo, the revenue Goa generates on casinos is not negligible. As per the latest reply by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant to Rohan Khaunte’s Assembly question on 4th February in the last session, total revenue collected by state government from offshore and onshore casinos only through GST and VAT in the last financial year is around Rs 265 crore. And this year till December is around Rs 150 crore. According to Michael Lobo, this would double and even triple if his proposals are implemented.

And number Two: Legalise Matka and charge 12% GST. Either stop the illegality or legalise it. He also assured that his government won’t stop Matka because thousands of ‘poor’ Goenkars, as bookies, make their living on it. Since the daily turnover reportedly is in crores, Michael feels it would generate huge amount of revenue through GST.

Interestingly, all the legislators like Michael belonging to all the political parties have conspired to allow Casinos in Goa by amending the Anti-Gambling Act, which was legislated and enforced by their forefathers to stop the illegal gambling activity, which makes you totally bankrupt and ruins the whole family life. The ‘turnover’ did not attract those legislators but they were more concerned how gambling ‘overturns’ the social and cultural life of the whole society. And the best living example of it is the new breed of politicians like Michael Lobo. He simply doesn’t feel apologetic while promoting gambling culture rather than controlling it by tightening the Anti-Gambling Act. That too as a proud legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which boasts about culture and morality!

We, the People, also gracefully digest these bizarre financial solutions as insane citizens. Because Goa has adopted pervert tourism. And let’s admit that this perversy is now deep rooted in our minds and hearts. Precisely that’s the reason we also blamed Dr Claude Alvares, who exposed the huge scam of illegal mining, because his exposure reached the Supreme Court and the judiciary reacted legally by banning mining, till the systems are put in place. Justice M B Shah called it a theft. But we hailed the thieves while condemning those who caught the daylight robbery of our natural reserves.

Well, let’s accept it as a practical sharp reality, like how Michaels look at it. Then the  question arises. Why do limit it to only more casinos and legalising Matka? Why not online prostitution, which is openly promoted on hundreds of websites like how Matka bookies seen openly sitting on the streets? Why not allow the drug trade, which has now reached even in the non-tourist hinterland, just like the widespread Matka? Imagine the revenue it would generate if we impose GST on drugs and online sex trade. And the ‘employment’ it would generate.

Rather, there is one more Brand Michael solution for Goa, which, if implemented, won’t require comparatively insignificant trades like Matka, Casinos, drugs or Sex trade. It’s a well-accepted realism that you need to bribe the government machinery today for any work getting done – legal or illegal – at the speed of a bullet train. In fact, four decades ago, then Maharashtra chief minister Abdul Rahaman Antulay, a barrister, had made a public announcement: “We pay our government servants to come and sit in the office. If you want to get your work done, you pay them.” Later, he had to resign due to multi-crore cement scandal he was involved in.

Today, these scandals are called commission-based professional necessities of political businessmen to satisfy the needs of ‘greedy voters’. Politicians belonging to most of the political parties publicly justify this scandalous activity. But, sadly, it is not quantified in terms of generating revenue for the state. Isn’t it a major ‘revenue leakage’, Mr Michael?

In the same spirit of accepting harsh realities and turning negatives into positives, why not legalise bribes and commissions by legalising these activities having a turnover of thousands of crores and impose GST on it? Why 12%, even 1.2% would do. Imagine the amount of revenue it would generate for the prosperity of Goa. Ten times more than Casinos, Matka, Drugs or Sex trade. And then no need to tax the hard working citizens of this country at the time of annual budgets. No need to float bonds or take loans. No debts, no bankruptcy, no question of economic slowdown. Bhaad mein jane do Hindostan!!!

Why not; Mr Michael Lobo?

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Very true the fact of public representative

Sarmalker Sanjay Dattatray |

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.


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