Tuesday 16 Aug 2022

GOAN BAKERS AND THE HALF-BAKED GOVT SCHEME

THE GOAN NETWORK | SEPTEMBER 16, 2021, 12:19 AM IST


Pao, Poie, and other bakery items being sold by the roadside behind Margao Municipal building.     Santosh Mirajkar

MARGAO: Even as the All Goa Bakers’ and Confectioners’ Association on Wednesday announced its decision to hike the price of the humble Pao to Rs 5 per unit to offset the production cost, inquiries have revealed that the Goa government’s scheme to provide subsidy to the traditional Goan bakers did not take off successfully for a host of reasons since its launch around 2013.

Titled as the Goa Traditional Bakers scheme, it was to be implemented through the Goa Handicrafts, Rural & Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Ltd (GHRSSIDC) to provide relief to the existing Goan traditional bakers engaged in the traditional occupation of baking 'pao', 'undho', 'poie' and 'kakon'.

A host of issues that surfaced over the implementation of the scheme virtually grounded the scheme before it could take off, as a result of which the scheme had hardly any takers.

GHRSSIDC former Managing Director Levinson Martins, who had toured various parts of the state to get a feedback from the traditional Goan bakers, pointed out that, issues such as procurement of maida from societies, etc had come in the way of the implementation of the scheme. “Basically, the scheme was unveiled by the government to provide relief on purchase of maida. We had come out with a set of guidelines, including the guideline mandating the bakers to procure the requirement from societies such as the Bagyadhar and other societies. Besides, there were many other issues which came in the way of implementation of the scheme”, Martins said.

He added: “Though the GHRSSIC had received around 40 applications from traditional bakers to avail benefit of the scheme, the scheme could not take off. We had even toured the state, to list out the number of traditional bakers engaged in the occupation. Somehow, the scheme could not take off successfully”.

President of All Goa Bakers’ and Confectioners’ Association Peter A Fernandes pointed out that a number of bakers had applied for the scheme, but issues such as the procedure, maintenance of records, besides the logistics involved came in the way of the scheme.

“The scheme made it mandatory for the bakers to procure the maida from the societies. But, most of the bakers were procuring their requirements from private traders, who not only provided quality maida, but delivered the consignment at the door steps of the bakeries. We had discussions with the government officials to tide over the problems, but somehow the scheme could not take off”, Peter said.

Sources said the traditional bakers had expressed fears and apprehensions that the government might exercise control over the bakers and their business in matters of fixation of price after providing the subsidy. Differences, sources said, had also cropped up amongst the bakers over the question of availing benefits of the scheme.

The scheme was unveiled by the Manohar Parrikar government when Pao was priced around Rs 3. Peter pointed out that Pao is being sold in the market all these years for Rs 4 per unit. “We are raising the price of Pao by one rupee. It will now cost Rs 5 per unit. Maida was one of the issues that time when the government had come out with the scheme. Now, the bakers are facing so many issues, including availability of firewood and threat to the occupation from bakers from outside the state”, he added.

CHARTER OF DEMANDS

All Goa Bakers’ and Confectioners’ Association

>> Supply cheap & subsidised firewood & simplified licensing system to transport & supply from outside Goa 
>> Support price based on the principle government gives to coconut growers, cashew and sugarcane farmers
>> Special category treatment under DSSY scheme and simplified and single window system to repair old bakeries
>> Insurance scheme and and financial support for bakers working after retirement age for non-availability of labour
>> Pension for labourers, bakers and working families
>> Subsidy and simplified licensing system to upgrade bakeries
>> Special quota in recognized catering colleges for children of bakers for further modernization of bakeries
>> Subsides on machinery, electricity/gas/diesel fired ovens, vehicles, power bills etc
>> Allotment of shops/stalls in the government/local bodies’ constructed building complexes and markets 
>> Special cell for Start-Up for children of bakers and a corporation for bakers 
>> Stop illegal bakers & multi stores as they spoil business of Goans
>> Financial support to re-open bakeries closed due Covid, labour problems and bakeries in the mining belt
>> Stop bakers from neighbouring states bringing bakery products, including pao to sell at cheap rate

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