India: GOA Statehood day – 30th May

Image result for GOA Statehood day - 30th May

By Eduardo Faleiro 27 May 2019

On May 30 we celebrate the Goa Statehood Day. On this day, in 1987, Goa ceased to be a Union Territory and became the 25th State of the Union of India.

Goa was liberated from the colonial rule in December 1961. After Liberation a significant controversy arose as to whether it should remain a separate territory or should merge into a neighboring State, Maharashtra or Mysore. In 1967, an Opinion Poll was held, the only such referendum in independent India. It decided that Goa, Daman, and Diu should remain a separate entity with the status of a Union Territory. After that all the three major political parties, the United Goans, the Congress, and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party sought statehood for Goa.

This demand was raised in March 1971 by Shri A. N. Naik of the United Goans Party who moved a private members’ resolution to this effect in the Legislative Assembly of Goa, Daman, and Diu. It was approved unanimously. Sometime after that, Shri Purushottam Kakodkar of the Congress introduced in the Lok Sabha a Bill demanding statehood for Goa and in October 1976, Shri R. L. Pankar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party moved a private members’ resolution in the Legislative Assembly also seeking statehood for Goa. Leader of Opposition Dr. Jack de Sequeira, Law Minister Pratapsingh Rane, Shri A. N. Naik, Dr. L. P. Barbosa, Chandrakant Chodankar, Roque Santana Fernandes, Punaji Achrekar, Teotonio Pereira, Luta Ferrao, Leo Velho, Dr. Silverio D’Souza, Jagdish Rao and this writer participated in the debate. Replying to the discussion, Chief Minister Sashikala Kakodkar stated, “In the early years after Liberation the M.G. Party stood for a merger with Maharashtra and fought for it through the Opinion Poll in a democratic way. The verdict of the Poll went against the merger, and the M.G. Party accepted the people’s verdict because it believes in the wisdom of the electorate. Goa, Daman and Diu are and should be what the people of this territory want to make of it.”

When I was elected to Parliament in 1977, the Union Government was led by the Janata Party. While Prime Minister Morarji Desai was opposed to small States, Home Minister Charan Singh supported them. Jayaprakash Narayan, the patron of the Janata Party, also supported small States. In 1969, in an article in the Hindustan Times, he called for “breaking up oversized States such as UP, Bihar, MP and a few others… The breaking up of large States, apart from resulting in a more compact, efficient and close to the people administration, should also go far to mitigate linguistic jingoism” he wrote.

My first speech in the Lok Sabha on April 4, 1977, and several of my subsequent speeches in Parliament dealt with the need to provide statehood to Goa. I submitted that “Union Territories came into existence under peculiar circumstances. In 1957 or thereabouts a States Reorganization Commission was formed to reorganize the States on a linguistic basis. It was found that there were some small pockets which for some reason or the other could neither be constituted into separate States nor could be joined or annexed to existing States. These were areas like Manipur, Tripura, NEFA, and so on. It was understood that after these areas had attained a certain level of economic and educational development, they would be merged into a neighboring State. It so happened that years went by, and the people of those areas affirmed unanimously that they did not want to be merged into any of the existing States. This is how Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, and the other North Eastern States came into existence.

“The case of Goa is quite different, so also that of Pondicherry. Pondicherry which was under French rule and Goa, Daman and Diu which were under the Portuguese rule joined the Union of India. Here you have two territories, small in area but with a reasonably high level of economic development, literacy, and cultural development. These were people who just came out of the colonial rule and who for centuries had been denied self-governance.

“In this country, no one is deliberately discriminated against, no people, no region, no creed is deliberately discriminated against in this free and democratic country of ours. But sometimes, unwittingly, discrimination creeps in and then it is incumbent upon the sovereign Parliament of this nation to correct such anomaly. Unlike in the States, in the Union Territories, the Lt. Governor is the authority who yields all the power. The Chief Minister and the entire Cabinet of a Union Territory are put at the mercy and disposal, as it were, of the Lt. Governor. This is a very abnormal situation.

“On the floor of this House, I appeal to the conscience of the members that this type of situation, taking people from the colonial rule and not giving them full rights which their brethren enjoy in the rest of the country should not be allowed to continue. It runs against all the tenets of our polity, and the conscience of this House should be aroused to grant statehood to at least some of the Union Territories. The people of Goa must be granted statehood. This is the birthright of the people of Goa.”

In 1980, Smt. Indira Gandhi returned as Prime Minister. In 1981, I introduced in Parliament the Statehood of Goa, Daman and Diu Bill 1981. Shri Rajiv Gandhi, then General Secretary of the AICC, assured me that the subject would be considered sympathetically by Government. When Shri Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister, I felt that I should obtain an assurance from him regarding statehood for Goa on the floor of Parliament. I could not personally raise the issue in Parliament since I was a Union Minister. Hence, I asked my colleague from Goa, Shri Shantaram Naik, to mention the matter in the Lok Sabha. Shantaram agreed. I took him immediately to the chamber of the Prime Minister in Parliament House and informed Shri Rajiv Gandhi that Shantaram Naik would raise the issue of statehood of Goa in the Lok Sabha and Government may reply favorably. Accordingly, the matter was raised by Shantaram Naik, and Shri Chintamani Panigrahi, Minister of State for Home Affairs indicated that Government was favorably inclined in this regard. The statehood for Goa followed.

Goa has achieved remarkable progress over the last five decades, particularly in core sectors such as education. Significant headway has been made in the fields of healthcare and development of infrastructure though there are obvious deficiencies in all these sectors. We must face the multifarious tasks that confront us today with courage and determination, with a rational outlook and commitment to a value system anchored on work ethics and the quest for excellence.

Previous articleIndia Naval Ambitions and Strategic Stability of South Asia
Next articleIndia’s Muslims quiver in the new dawn of an emboldened Narendra Modi
Faleiro was born on 30 August 1940. He was a Union Cabinet minister at the Indian federal government in New Delhi from 1986 to 1996. Earlier, he was a member of the legislative assembly of Goa for a short while, before shifting to national-level politics. When the Indian National Congress, a party he has associated with for most of his political career, was out of power, Faleiro was a member of the Rajya Sabha too, the upper house of the Indian parliament. Below is a list of posts held by him: 1971-1976: Member, Goa Legislative Assembly 1974-1976: Deputy Leader, CLP (I), Goa Legislative Assembly 1977: Elected to the Sixth Lok Sabha 1980: Re-elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha 1982-1986: Chairman, Economic Development Corporation 1984: Elected to the Eighth Lok Sabha for the third consecutive time 1985-1986: Chairman, House Committee May 1986 to February 1988: Union Minister of State, External Affairs February 1988 to December 1989: Union Minister of State, Economic Affairs (Finance) 1989-1990: Elected to the Ninth Lok Sabha for the fourth time 1990: Member, Committee of Privileges; Member, Consultative Committee; Ministry of Planning and Program Implementation 1991: Elected to the Tenth Lok Sabha for the fifth time 1992: Leader of the Indian Delegation to the United Nations 23 June 1991 to January 1993: Union Minister of State, External Affairs 18 January 1993 to April 1996 – Union Minister of State, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Ocean Development, Electronics, Parliamentary Affairs 1995: Vice Chairperson of Independent World Commission on Oceans 26 July 1999: Elected Member of Rajya Sabha (Council of States.) In March 2006, Mr Faleiro was appointed as Commissioner for NRI Affairs by the Government of Goa, with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. 2007: Chairman of Universal Peace Federation of India(NGO in Consultative Status in the Social and Economic Council of the United Nations)