Goa Special Status

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Small Goa became a part of India from the Portuguese in 1961

Special Status for Goa is concept promoted by the Native people of Goa. It involves the granting of special powers to the Government of Goa by the Indian Government by amending article 371(1) of the Constitution of India. These powers would allow the Government of Goa to enact special legislation to control the migration of people into Goa and to place restrictions on the sale of land to Non-Goans.

Unique Culture Protection[edit]

The demand for Special Status has its origin in the loss of identity of the Goan People. For over 50 Years, there has been migration of people from all over India to Goa. This has resulted in erosion of Goa's Unique Culture, strains on limited resources like land, economic hardships for the native people and rise of crime and violence in an otherwise peaceful state.

There are actions initiated both by the Goa Government and Citizen Groups to further the demand for grant of Special Status Powers. A delegation of the MSSG led By Adv. Antonio Lobo handed over a memorandum to the Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar. A discussion over the amendment to Article 371 (i) of the Indian Constitution was deliberated upon. The Goa Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a resolution for Grant of Special Status and a delegation led by the Chief Minister of Goa met the Prime Minister to apprise him of the need for Special Status. Among the Citizen Groups, there was Goa Movement for Special Status led by late Mathany Saldanha and Movement for special status for Goa (MSSG). Adv. Antonio Lobo is the Convenor, Prof. Prajal Sakhardande, the Secretary and Mr. Antonio Alvares is the Joint Secretary.

Origins of the Special Status Movement[edit]

Goa was invaded and annexed by India from Portugal on 19 December 1961. The Supreme Court of India had also ruled that Goa was conquered and annexed. After the invasion, steps were taken by the Indian government to integrate Goans into the Indian Union. Prime Minister Jawarlal Nehru had in 1954 promised to Goans that it is in the interest of the Indian Nation that Portuguese must go and that Goans will not be brought into the Indian Union through Coercion. At an emergency UNSC meet on 18 December 1961, to discus the Goan crises, a resolution seeking the withdrawal of the Indian forces out of Goa, was vetoed by the USSR, despite getting majority votes. That night, Mr. C. S. Jha, the Indian Ambassador to the United Nations conceded that it is now the time for all the UN resolutions pertaining to de-colonized territories to come into play. The UNO General Assembly had already adopted a resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 on the granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. But instead holding an exercise of self-determination monitored under the UN, the Indian Election Commission and the Military government in control over Goa held the first, Legislative Assembly elections in 1963. Goa is probably the only decolonised territory which was deprived of having a Plebiscite.

People from other states were deputed to Goa to take up postings in Goa's administration. Goan students were taught Indian culture and languages and migration of people from other states of India was allowed into Goa.

The blason of Goa from Portuguese times

These policies which were practised over 50 years have slowly resulted in the destruction of Goa's unique culture and identity. Owing to large scale in migration, the native Goans will soon be outnumbered by non Goans. By some estimates, over 40% of Goa's population is not of Goan origin. Goans realise that in a few years that they will be a minority in their own land and fear the loss of their land, their culture, their identity, language and ethos.

So that further destruction of their homeland and culture, that Goa may not eventually become another large Indian city, Goans are increasingly demanding that the Goa Government be given the right to control in migration and regulate land sales to only people of Goan Origin. They reason that since the Constitution of India was drafted before Goa joined the union of India, and they have a right to special provision in the Constitution to protect Goa's interests.

Benefits of Special Status[edit]

  • Will reduce in-migration so that Goa's resources like land, water can be better managed and distributed.
  • Create conditions where Goa's unique culture and identity will thrive and grow.
  • Lower prices and better quality of life for Goans as the demand for homes, schools, roads, hospitals from Non Goans will be less.
  • Reduction in cross border Crime and Lawlessness.
  • Romi Konkani will thrive.
  • Goa and Goan can live together without outside interference

Progress of the Special Status demand[edit]

  • The Goa Legislative Assembly passed a resolution requesting the Government of India to accede to Goa's request for Special Status.
  • The Chief Minister of Goa apprised the Prime Minister of India of the growing demand among Goans that Goa be granted Special Status under the Constitution of India.
  • There have been various organization fighting for the Special Status of Goa.
  1. The Late Mathany Saldanha started the Goa Movement for Special Status as a citizens movement to further the demand for Special Status.
  2. The Movement for special status for Goa, is another organization fighting for the Special Status.

Hindrances of the Special Status demand[edit]

  • Lack of Political will from the Government of India due to small representation of Goa in the Indian Parliament(2 Members of Parliament)
  • Large scale business interests for the exploitation of Goa's Land resources.
  • General disarray of People Movements.

Arguments against Special Status[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]