Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Education in Goa

Education: Slip sliding away

January 27 - February 5, 2014

Pushpa Iyengar

We are now 3rd from bottom

Under Manohar Parrikar’s watch as Goa’s Education Minister, the state has slipped to 33 on the nation’s Education Development Index (EDI) for 2012-13.  It may not be politically correct to say so, but, at an EDI score of .520, it holds the dubious distinction of being third from the bottom, with Uttar Pradesh (.508) ranked 34 and Jharkhand (.452) at 35, saving its blushes.  And, these are states on which a variety of internet jokes are passed around.

No more can Parrikar blame the Congress, because it was in 21st place last year and has slipped 12 places to 33 when he was in charge, so he can take the entire discredit for its dismal performance in the last year.  EDI is done by National University of Education Planning and Administration (NEUPA) for the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and, in Goa, the data was collected by Sarva Shiksha Abhyan (the all-India government organization that promotes education for all).

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Goanspirit's Man of the Year

Goanspirit’s Man of the Year Awards

December 30, 2013 - January 5, 2014

Fool of the Year: Tarun Tejpal, for molesting a woman in a moving lift that too in a BJP-ruled state.  In doing so, he also set the record for the fastest molestation attempt in recorded history.

Foreigner of the Year: Caitan Silva and Glen Ticlo, for being the only two Portuguese nationals in the Goa Assembly.

Real Man of the Year: Goa’s poder, voted by the largest margin by the jury, for being the hardest working Goan and for delivering to your home Goa’s cheapest food in any category, possibly in the entire country.

Villain of the Year: The Goa policeman.  Such is his villainy, it is said he is capable of seizing drugs from a peddler and selling to an under-18. 

Con of the Year: The backdoor entry of the floating Casino Horseshoe.

Con Artist of the Year: Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for magically pulling off his Houdini-like trick.  But instead of a hat, he used the green waters of the River Mandovi.

Scriptwriter of the Year: The St. Andre legislator Vishnu Wagh for his witticism and for keeping his audience on their toes despite having a lousy producer and director (Manohar Parrikar).  Or, should we say inspite of.

Most Sunburn’t Man of the Year: Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar for his candid admission that drugs are freely available and are part of the traveller’s kitbag.

Photogenic Man of the Year: Alina Saldinha.  Goa’s photographable environment minister attends every function she is invited to, designer handbag (called accessory these days) in tow, eyes fixated on the cameras.  Not even the flashing lights disturb her laconic smile.  Her critics accuse her of milking her mourning dress too far, that is, well beyond the flexible one year; but our jury didn’t think so.  They said it matches the black mood of her constituents especially in the Cansaulim-Velsao belt.

Most innovative Minister of the Year:  Alina Saldanha.  Her doing nothing has metaphorically allowed the grass to grow under her feet and in her Cortalim constituency (in this case literally).  No other minister has achieved this.

Woose Man of the Year: Pratapsingh Rane.  As Opposition Leader, he appears to be in conflict with himself.  Those who are close to him feel Rane thinks being OL is like playing blind man’s buff, meaning with the blindfold on he can’t be faulted for not being able to identify the ruling party.

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Drug arrest in Goa


November 25-December 1, 2013

This investigative article by Lionel Messias appeared on GOA TODAY (January, 1986: THE DRUG MENACE: GETTING HIGH) and is being reproduced now to show that the drug menace as it existed in the Eighties continues in the same vein (pun intended) four decades later with the only change being that the kind of drugs available today are more sophisticated in their chemistry and as a result the carte du jour has both diversified and multiplied.  Inflation too has caught up as it has with every other market commodity.  After reading this, you may want to add that in the Goa of today, the consumer profile has however changed dramatically.  You would be right in thinking that.

Little has changed in decades - 1

Goan youth, overburdened with 20th century frustrations, parental neglect and inadequate personalities, are turning to drugs, almost with a vengeance.  Faced also with an identity crisis and uncertainty about their futures, ‘flower power’ – or more, perhaps, ‘flight power’ impresses them in ways only they can understand.  When asked by a psychiatrist why he did not stop, an addict replied, “Join us in the world we live in, we like it.”

The Drug Abuse and Prevention Programe (DAPP), Panjim conducted a survey of 2,000 college and 7,000 high school students recently.  The survey has not been processed, but DAPP insists that between 10 and 15 per cent of the student population use either light or heavy drugs. 

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Goa in the eighties


December 9-15, 2013

This the second of two investigative articles by Lionel Messias that appeared on GOA TODAY (April, 1986: DRUG TRAFFICKING IN GOA: The Foreign Connection) and is being reproduced now to show that the drug menace as it existed in the Eighties continues in the same vein.  This time he traces the foreigner’s involvement in the Eighties decade.

Little has changed in decades - 2

Many years ago, a radio transmitter located in an isolated house on the Arpora road, used to receive messages from Taiwanese freighters heading for the Port of Mormugao.  While the house remains to this day, ‘it is situated on a hillock a few hundred metres away from ‘Haystack’; with the advent of the bulk carriers, the charter of the cumbersome freighters has greatly declined, and subsequently affected the modus operandi of drug trafficking into Goa.

In the freighter days, ‘buoyant’ packages would be dropped in Indian territorial waters to be picked up immediately by light fiberglass boats put out to sea anywhere between Calangute and Tiracol.

In later years, drug trafficking shifted from the foreign mafia into the hands of Indians (and locals), though occasionally in danger of being uncovered, competent enough to run the trade efficiently.

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Russian sex worker

Dirty Dancing - 4

December 23 - 29, 2013

There are different reasons for CSE

There are a myriad reasons how women become victims of CSE and newer and newer situations arise.  A case in point: The politics in Andhra Pradesh over the formation of Telangana has had repercussions on CSE here.  Recently a conference held in a Goa hotel had extras from the Telugu film industry who were out of work because of the uncertainty there.  So, they were brought here to entertain conference delegates, a pattern that is slowly establishing itself but only gets outed when a raid like the one conducted at a resort in Calangute happens.  Carried out early last month, it led to the arrest of a pimp from Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, apart from the rescue of eight women.

So it is a vicious cycle that pulls victims back into being exploited which only increases in a state like Goa where the tourist industry, currently in its peak season, feeds it to keep it alive. This fact has been borne out in the country report on Anti-Human Trafficking in India 2013 which was prepared by UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).  The report provides details of the situation of human trafficking in each state and the initiatives taken by law enforcement agencies.

The Goa report,  carried out in co-ordination with ARZ, is reported as it is below.

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