Ready for Change
It may seem unlikely, but for its size Goa has one of the earliest chambers of commerce across India, set up at the very start of the 20th century. The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry is facing changing situations, economic challenges and power-shifts in local trade and industry, pushing it to take on new initiatives and apt approaches.
This face of change is reflected in the biennial elections; and 2011 saw Mangirish Pai Raikar and a new team take over at the helm. But beyond this too, the changing situation is reflected in the attitudes, initiatives and approaches that the chambers have been taking up over recent years.
In a way, the leadership changes reflect the changing power equations among different sectors of industry and trade in Goa. Of late, the GCCI presidents have been entrusted to representatives of Goa's mining, electronics and IT, pharma sectors. Outgoing president Cesar Menezes gives a hint of changing power equations (see interview), when he says: "Business in Goa has a much longer tradition in trading rather than manufacturing or the service industry."
Pai Raikar has had a long innings with the small scale sector himself. "It was my ambition to head the GCCI one day," says Pai Raikar. His ancestral family has its roots in trade -- an important sector in the Goa economy not too many decades ago -- and he himself recalls the pinch he faced while accessing finance from the banks in the 1980s (see interview).