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Global Goans’ convention Canada 2008

Economic Times - July 25, 2008

TORONTO: Goa is set to become the first state in India to appoint non-resident Indians (NRIs) to various boards and corporations.

``Putting Goan expatriates on state boards and corporations is one of our various steps to reconnect them with their roots. When this happens, Goa will be the first Indian state to accord this honour to expatriates,'' Eduardo Faleiro, former minister of state for external affairs and currently Goa's commissioner for NRI affairs, told IANS here.

Faleiro, who is here to attend the annual Global Goans Convention, said the state government was wooing back expatriates with a variety of schemes.

``In view of their often-heard complaints about property disputes, we are amending the tenancy Act next month for a summary trial of property-related cases filed by NRIs. These people cannot stay in India for a long time to fight such cases,'' said Faleiro.

He said about 500,000 people of Goan origin live abroad. ``Almost one third of Goa's total population of 1.4 million lives abroad. The Global Gaons Convention is our effort to reconnect with our expatriate community scattered all over the world,'' he said.

Faleiro said Goa was also the first state to have started a scheme to issue `Goa Cards' to NRIs to give them unhindered access to government departments.

``We will also be the first state in India to put NRI representatives from countries with a large Goan expatriate population on a high-powered committee to address their grievances. This committee, headed by me, will have high-ranking state officials, including district collectors,'' Faleiro said.

To expedite NRI investment proposals, he said, the Goan government has appointed a nodal officer in the industry department.

``To reconnect second and third generation Goans abroad with their roots, the state government has launched a programme called `Know Goa'.

`` Under this programme, we will invite 15 youngsters (in the age group of 18 to 26) who have distinguished themselves academically or professionally, to visit Goa for 15 days as guests of the state. We will pay all their expenses,'' the former Indian minister said.

Faleiro said the state government has also initiated a study to monitor migration from Goa. ``As part of this study, we will visit people in their homes to know how many of their family members live abroad and how much money they send back home. We have also asked the Reserve bank of India to help us know how much remittances are coming into the state,'' he said.

The next Global Goans Convention is likely to be held in Australia.

``After holding first four conventions in Goa, we thought of going out of India and holding it in different countries. We held the first convention in Portugal last year. Hopefully, we will meet in Australia next year,'' Faleiro said. - 24th July 2008

Flora Almeida Marlow, who hails from Goa, a state in India, travelled all the way from Montreal to Mississauga in search of all things Goan. Almeida Marlow, who was was in town with her family hoped, to take in various activities at the 2008 International Goan Convention today.

The event runs until Sunday at venues in and around Mississauga, including the University of Toronto - Mississauga and the Living Arts Centre. The convention includes networking opportunities, theatre performances, cultural and musical evening, workshops and other activities.

The Montreal mother said even though her two daughters, Shannon, 13, and Fiona, 14, don't speak Konkani, the native language, she makes sure they remain connected to the culture. The Almeida Marlow family loves the cuisine and other art and dance forms of Goa. “My daughters who have been raised in Montreal, Quebec don't have too many opportunities to learn about the rich history and heritage of Goa,” Almeida Marlow said. “I think it is important for the younger generation to learn and this is a great way to do so.” Tonight's musical evening at the University of Toronto - Mississauga campus included performances of a traditional dance - Mando Mogi — and a 'Goa Idol' competition for aspiring singers.

Francis Rodrigues, president of Goanetters Association of Toronto (GNAT), said a three-week international convention hosted in Toronto 20 years ago was an unqualified success, so organizers of this year's event decided to replicate some of events again. “Many second and third generation Goans living in Canada have lost in touch with their culture,” Rodrigues said. “This is an opportunity for them to get in touch, hear the native language and relive their culture again.”

GNAT came into existence a year ago as a result of an online mailing group, GoaNet, comprising of more than 12,000 Goans worldwide.