CAUTION: Besides the inventory check, consult a civil engineer on the stability of the property you are purchasing. Most Goan housing complexes such as the Kamat Riviera, Caranzalem (above) are built on paddy fields without an adequate foundation.

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the BJP has made its intention clear by launching the Agnipath scheme under the Defense Forces. For a Saturday following the week when we see in sharp contrast the then Congress prime minister, Manmohan Singh, introducing the MGNREGA scheme — which was genuinely aimed at providing employment. For a Saturday following the week when leading industrialists, including Anand Mahindra and Narayan Murthy, former chairman of Infosys, welcomed the Agnipath scheme. For a Saturday following the week when reports were pouring in of illegal transfers of land not only in the name of the living but also in the name of the dead. For a Saturday following the week when the BJP was on the verge of toppling the Shiv Sena Congress government in Maharashtra. For a Saturday following the week when Sports Minister Govind Gaude claimed that Goa was not ready to hold the national sports even after 11 years or for that matter host the under-17 Women’s World Cup.

AND a few stray thoughts on the BJP making its intentions clear by launching the Agnipath scheme under the jurisdiction of the Defense Force. The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, 2002 is to recruit young men as Agniveer or soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces. The Agnipath scheme will be the only route for recruitment into the military. All recruits will be hired for a four-year period and they will be called Agniveer (Fire Warriors), which will be a new military rank.
This is the clear admission that the BJP is building its own army distinctive from the regular armed forces of the country. The intension of the BJP is to confer power and arm the fanatic fringe of the Hindutva brigade. The target of the BJP is not to strengthen the armed forces. It is not to save on the massive expenditure on pension for the regular armed forces.
The timing of the launching of Agnipath gives the game away. Why launch a parallel army of youth in the run-up to the 2024 parliamentary elections? Clearly the Modi government is preparing to retain power by hook or by crook just in case it does not get a majority in the 2024 elections.
If the BJP government was concerned about creating a younger, stronger armed force, it could have done it way back in 2014 when it was first elected to power. It need not have waited till 2022, just two years before parliamentary elections, which would give Modi his third term as prime minister. Unlike in the United States, there is no limit on the number of times a politician can be elected to top office in India.
In the US, you cannot be elected president more than twice. Not surprisingly, the strongest protests are coming from Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and Maharashtra, which have historically been the martial states of India. The Jats of Punjab, Haryana and Punjab, are the backbone of the armed forces.
Similarly, the so-called descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — the Marathas, are again an important component of the armed forces. The BJP seems to be playing the same kind of mischief that the British played – the game of “divide and rule.” The biggest fear of the British was the risk of a revolt by the army.
Which is why the army was divided caste-wise and community-wise. So you had the Rajputana regiment and the Madras regiment and regiments representing originally every community and ethnic group. There was even the Mahar regiment which consisted entirely of backward-class Maharashtrians. The Mahar regiment has always been resented by the Marathas.
Indeed the recent clashes at Koregaon near Pune in Maharashtra was ironically because the Mahar regiment of the British army which had defeated Shivaji’s Maratha regiment. So the clashes were primarily between lower class and upper class. Leading social activists, including the late Fr Stanley and senior professor at the Goa Institute of Management, Anand Teltumbde, were killed and arrested respectively because of the allegation that they instigated the Mahars to revolt.
The Mahars had set up a monument at Koregaon to commemorate their victory over the upper-caste Marathas. The cat will be out of the bag when the recruitment process starts. It will be interesting to see out of the 46,000 Agniveer recruited how many will be from the minority communities. There is also every possibility of a clash between the regular army and new Agniveer.
Unlike the Agniveer who will serve in the defense forces only for four years, the regular army has a tenure of 20 years with all attendant benefits such as dearness allowances, pension, free rations and even subsidized consumer goods and consumer durables from the canteen source department.
Even an ordinary policeman who is given a uniform and a lathi bullies people. You can imagine what will happen to the minority communities if 100% Hindutva Agniveer troops are given not only official power but also armed with stent guns.

AND a few stray thoughts on the employment guarantee scheme called MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) introduced by the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, over two decades ago. This was the brainchild of Jean Dréze, a Belgian-born staunch left Indian economist. The intention behind MGNREGA was to provide guaranteed employment to rural landless labor for a fixed period of time annually. This is because in between the harvesting seasons, the landless labor were unemployed and without any source of livelihood.
It became much worse with the increasing mechanization of agriculture. With the introduction of tractors and combined harvesters the need for labor fell sharply, leading to mass migration to urban areas in search of jobs. If the primary concern of the Modi government is employment, it could have extended the MGNREGA scheme to urban areas too.
The new digital age also widens the scope of vocational skills imparted to those who wanted to enroll in the MGNREGA. In its present form, the only jobs available are of manual labor used for constructing dams, wells and bridges in the rural areas. A scheme like MGNREGA was genuinely aimed at providing jobs to the semi-educated and the uneducated. The fear about the Agnipath scheme in contrast to the MGNREGA is that there are no minimum educational qualification required. The logic is why anyone who passed 10th or even 2nd standard should not be used as cannon fodder?

AND a few stray thoughts on senior industrialists extending support to the Agnipath scheme. I am not surprised that the Jindals are supporting it as one of the family has been charged with tweeting abusive remarks against Prophet Mohammed. But I am shocked that enlightened industrialists like Anand Mahindra, who makes jeeps, and former chairman of Infosys, Narayan Murthy, are also supporting the Agnipath scheme. Their rationale is that in four years when the term of the Agniveer expire, they will have a readymade team of trained disciplined manpower.
Even the GMR group building Mopa airport is offering job reservations for the Anniveer after completion of their four year tenure. If the Agniveer are going to take away jobs at the Mopa airport, what about the Goans? What about the ex-servicemen who have served the country for 20 years? And surely Anand Mahindra and Narayan Murthy should know that the illiterate will be of no use in an increasingly digitalized world where artificial intelligence will be the driving force?
Even the BJP cannot instill artificial intelligence in the Agniveer though it can fill them with nonsense about Ravana of Sri Lanka who kidnapped Sita and who had his own aircraft called Pushpak, more than 2,000 years ago. Over the years down the line, there will be so many radical changes in technology, that the Agniveer will be of little or no use. Will the army train them to handle electrical vehicles and in using drones?
Is there a risk that they may use their against Narendra Modi himself? The Agniveer are like the warriors you find on mobile games. They are toy soldiers and not real soldiers who may not be able to make a distinction between friend and foe. Goa’s nightclubs and casinos will be happy to hire them as bouncers!

        ILLEGAL LAND           

AND a few stray thoughts on the increasing number of cases of illegal land transfers, particularly in Bardez district. It has been confirmed that huge chunks of land worth over Rs10,000 crore have been illegally transferred in the name of the living and even the dead. The special team investigating the land fraud scam claims that most of the property has been sold to Delhi and Bangalore businessmen.
It is the Uniform Civil Code which is responsible for the large-scale fraud in transfer of land. And the fact that a large number of Goans are POGOs who live in the rest of the country or abroad and don’t keep track of their properties in Goa. Even in the case of grand ancestral homes and agricultural property where an owner is in residence, it is mostly senior citizens, as all the young ones have flown away to the UK and France and other foreign destinations. The reason why it is so easy to commit land fraud in Goa is that unlike in other states, the sale deed that is given to you by the registrar is not worth the paper it is issued on. This is because in Goa, the sub-registrar does not guarantee that the property being sold actually belongs to the person who is selling it.
In fact, the sub-registrar takes no responsibility and could not care less about who sells land to whom. The responsibility of ensuring that the person who wants to sell you land has actual legal possession of it depends entirely on the purchaser. This is because under the Portuguese Civil Code, 50% of the property automatically goes to the surviving spouse. The property which goes to the surviving spouse can be disposed at her discretion and is not part of the ancestral property. The tradition under the Uniform Civil Code is that an inventory is made of all the property owned by the dearly departed.
The reason why there are so many death advertisements in Goa’s newspapers is because they are an invitation to all the vultures among relatives to come and claim their share! Particularly in the case of large families, where as many as 50 to 100 signatures may be necessary to sell one plot of land. Which is why it is mandatory for those who want to buy property in Goa to have an inventory check done by a lawyer who knows Portuguese. This is because the provenance of the land has to be established over four generations and many of the records are in Portuguese. Such fraudulent sales were not possible when the Portuguese were in power as there were multiple checks on the ownership of any property.
There were the matriz records which were details of the land revenue paid to the Portuguese government, similar to our house tax. The properties were also registered under land survey under which the property or even a share of the property you owned was entered at the registrar of land holdings. Forget about buying an “old Portuguese” villa, even if a Delhi or Bangalore resident buys a flat, the sale deed will mention that a proportion of the land on which the flat is built is registered in his name in the records. The biggest mistake purchasers of land make is they only enter into an agreement of sale to avoid paying stamp-duty.
An agreement of sale is no proof of your possession of the property that you have paid several crore for it. The most dangerous person in any municipality or panchayat is the official who gives you the death certificate. He can kill people at his own will or resurrect them for a bribe!

AND a few stray thoughts on Sports Minister Govind Gaude admitting that Goa is still not in a position to hold the National Games — 11 years after it was allotted to Goa. This has not prevented successive chief ministers and sports ministers from spending huge amounts of money on creating infrastructure. It has almost been forgotten that the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium was originally meant for holding indoor events for the National Games. Similarly, a cinder track for athletics has been built in Bambolim, which as far as we know has never been used.
There is another indoor stadium at Peddem, near Mapusa. There are many other grand structures like the stadium for water sports coming up at Dona Paula. Goa has not even been able to set up a facility for training in shooting though lots of shots are fired. Or boxing, in which the legendary Mary Kom of Manipur won so many medals.
I remember that two of my one time many personal security officers (guards provided by the police for those whose lives are threatened) were experts at wrestling. They represented Goa at the national level several times. They used to bitterly complain that the Goa police would not even reserve berths for them to travel to the venue. While wrestlers from Punjab and Haryana were given almonds and chicken, the Goan wrestlers got only dal-roti.
The ground reality is that training facilities in India for any sports are so bad that it would be a Herculean task for any sportsperson to win a medal in the Olympics; the athletes themselves have to go abroad for training. The only reason why Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in javelin, was because he was trained in the Czech Republic. The only professional academy is the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad. Though PT Usha. who came fourth in the hundred meter sprint in the Olympics has set up an academy, she has not produced any Olympians yet. The only industrial house which supports sports in Goa besides football, is the House of Dempos.
But it’s the case of “too little, too late” as it was proven in the case of Natasha Palha (Tennis), Talasha Prabhu (Swimming), Bhakti Kulkarni (Chess) and Ivana Furtado (Chess).

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