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MARGAO: Chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said that tablet PCs will be provided to students of class V and

VI by January 2013, and those studying in higher classes will be given subsequently. Parrikar made this announcement while addressing a gathering at a function to launch the Magicbus project at Curhorem. Stressing on the need to utilize all the facilities available to them for their overall development, Parrikar urged the students to use their talent and intelligence in the right direction. Earlier, Parrikar had launched the Magicbus project, a concept aimed at empowering children, youth and communities in areas of education, gender, health and leadership through sports, in the presence of sports minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, industries minister, Mahadev Naik, Curchorem MLA, Nilesh Cabral, Sanvordem MLA, Ganesh Gaonkar and Sanguem MLA Subhash Phaldessai. The Magicbus project in Goa is promoted by a Goan mining company in collaboration withMagicbus India foundation for the first time. The first phase of this project covers 5,000 children-1,000 each from the talukas of Canacona, Sanguem, Sanvordem, Shiroda and Curchorem. The children were provided sports kits and will be trained by community sports coaches and youth mentors from the localities. Five buses were presented to the children of the above mentioned constituencies to enable the children to take part in the activities of Magicbus.

PANAJI: The Goa state planning board wants to boost the primary sectors of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and the like at the micro-level of the Goan village, thus aiming to realize the concept of a self-sustaining village in the state, deputy chairman Datta Kholkar said. In its first meeting held recently, Manohar Parrikar, chairman of the newly-constituted board, directed that a high-level monitoring committee be constituted within the next 15 days, to ensure that the government schemes reach and flourish in the villages of Goa. Kholkar told TOI, "Basically, the planning board will go to the villages. We will take the village as a unit for the planning process. We have decided to strengthen rural development in Goa by concentrating on areas like health care, education, drinking water, water resources, sanitation and such basic needs which relate directly to human development. These will be monitored very closely, especially in the talukas of Sanguem, Quepem, Sattari, Bicholim, Canacona, etc." Elaborating, he said that if a village has scope for the development of agriculture, the board will find the bottlenecks impeding this development. "We will look into this and provide

solutions. For example, a village like Malkarnem runs close to Selaulim in Quepem taluka. But Malkarnem does not have water. It needs only about 600m or one kilometre of pipeline to take water to the village. The planning board will try to concentrate on such type of micro-level planning," Kholkar said. He also said that while the above ideas were proposed at the first meeting, more concrete action plans will materialize by the next meeting, scheduled within three months. "We will finalize a plan for strengthening rural development in Goa. Development of the primary sector will be taken up on priority. By the primary sector, I mean the agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, etc. We will try to make these generate revenue. Then, our dependence on other states will be reduced." He added that there is potential for development in these sectors and that people are ready to venture into these activities, but small hiccups remain. The planning board will seek to sort these out. Kholkar cited the example of a government scheme to boost milk production. According to Kholkar, two reasons that impede milk production in Goa are the lack of water sources and lack of proper veterinary services. Besides, there are dispensaries but no doctors. We can only sort these out if we go to the villages," he said. Strengthening the rural economy will not only bring prosperity to the villages, but will also reduce Goa's dependence on other states for milk and agriculture and further reduce the demand for government jobs, he added. Initially, the board will identify some villages in all Goan talukas, and these villages will be taken up on a pilot basis in the first year. More villages will be added in the second year, Kholkar said. While the chief minister is the chairman, the board's members include all government secretaries, heads of departments and 18 non-official members. The chairman has directed that the planning board should compulsorily meet every three months.

PANAJI: Economic Development Corporation (EDC) board has modified the interest rebate scheme to promote industries in backward talukas of the state. According to modified scheme, those industries which pay their instalments on loans regularly to EDC will now be given minimum 5% interest rebate as an incentive. Speaking to TOI, EDC managing director S P Bhat said "The duration of this scheme is 5 years, and the rebate will be given to the entrepreneur on a maximum of Rs 25 lakh paid as interest per year."

The non-Goan entrepreneurs willing to set up the industry in backward talukas will get 5% interest rebate. The Goans setting up industry in backward talukas will get 5% interest rebate, plus 2% more as a further incentive for being local. And women entrepreneurs will be offered 5% as per the scheme, plus 2% rebate as women and also 2% rebate for locals. "To avail the scheme, the entrepreneurs have to set up industries in Pernem, Sanguem, Satari, Bicholim, Canacona, Quepem and Dharbandora", said Bhat. The scheme is also applicable for existing industries as well as new for loans.

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