Sunday, May 15, 2011


—  State  —

Location of Goa in India
Map of Goa
Coordinates (Panaji): 15.563°N 73.818°E
Country India
Established30 May 1987
Largest cityVasco da Gama
 - GovernorShivinder Singh Sidhu
 - Chief MinisterDigambar Kamat
 - LegislatureUnicameral (40 seats)
 - Total3,702 km2 (1,429.4 sq mi)
Area rank28th
Population (2011)
 - Total1,457,723
 - Rank25th
 - Density393.8/km2 (1,019.9/sq mi)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-GA
HDIincrease 0.779 (medium)
HDI rank3rd (2005)
Literacy87% (3rd)
Official languagesKonkani*
^* Konkani is the sole official language but Marathi is also allowed to be used for any or all official purposes.
Goa ( /ɡ.ə/; Konkani: गोंय) is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as theKonkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.


The name Goa came to European languages from the Portuguese, but its precise origin is unclear. In ancient literature, Goa was known by many names such asGomantaGomanchalaGopakapattamGopakapuriGovapuriGovem, and Gomantak. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, asGoparashtra or Govarashtra which means a nation of cowherds. Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana. In the latter, Goa is also known as GomanchalaParashurambhoomi is a name that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas. In the third century BCE, Goa was known as Aparantha, and is mentioned by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. The Greeks referred to Goa as Nelkinda in the 13th century. Some other historical names for Goa are SindapurSandabur, andMahassapatam.


Rock cut engraving at Usgalimal
Goa's history stretches back to 8000-6000 BC. Early Paleolithic and Mesolithic rock art engravings have been found on the bank of river Kushavati at Usgalimal.Petroglyphs,cones,stone-axe,choppers dating back 10,000 years back have been found in many places in Goa like Kazur,Mauxim and the Mandovi-Zuari basin.Palaeolithic cave existence is seen at Dabolim, Adkon, Shigao, Fatorpa, Arli, Maulinguinim, Diwar, Sanguem, Pilerne, Aquem-Margaon etc. Difficulty in carbon dating the laterite rock compounds poses problems in determination of exact time period. These discoveries have shed light on Goa's prehistory.
Gold coins issued by the Kadamba king of Goa, Shivachitta Paramadideva. Circa 1147-1187 AD.
The Sumerians inhabited Goa around 2200 BC which was followed by several waves of Indo-Aryan people and the Dravidians from the Deccan. The early Goan society underwent radical changes when aboriginal locals and the migrants amalgamated, forming the base of early Goan culture.
In 3rd century BC, it formed part of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. Buddhist monks laid the foundation of Buddhism in Goa. Between the 2nd century BCE and the 6th century CE, Goa was ruled by the Chutus of Karwar as feudatories of the Satavahanas of Kolhapur (2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE), Western Kshatrapas (around 150 CE), the Abhiras of Western Maharashtra, Bhojas of the Yadav clans of Gujarat, and the Konkan Mauryas as feudatories of the Kalachuris. The rule later passed on to the Chalukyas of Badami, who controlled it between 578 to 753, and later the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed from 753 to 963. However from 765 to 1015, the Southern Silharas of Konkan ruled Goa as the feudatories of the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas. Over the next few centuries, Goa was successively ruled by the Kadambas as the feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani. They patronised Jainism in Goa.
In 1312, Goa came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate. However, the kingdom's grip on the region was weak, and by 1370 they were forced to surrender it toHarihara I of the Vijayanagara empire. The Vijayanagara monarchs held on to the territory until 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After that dynasty crumbled, the area fell to the hands of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur who established as their auxiliary capital the city known under the Portuguese as Velha Goa.
The Sé Cathedral at Old Goa, an example of Portuguese influence
Coat of Arms of Goa as a Portuguese colony 1935–1961
In 1510, the Portuguese defeated the ruling Bijapur kings with the help of a local ally, Timayya, leading to the establishment of a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa).
In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa. By the mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Goa's present day state limits. Simultaneously the Portuguese lost other possessions in India until their borders stabilised and formed the Estado da India Portuguesa, of which Goa was the largest territory.
After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to negotiate with India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian enclaves. On 12 December 1961, the Indian Army commenced with Operation Vijay resulting in the annexation of Goa, Daman and Diu into the Indian union. Goa, along with Daman and Diu was made into a centrally administered Union Territory of India. On 30 May 1987, the Union Territory was split, and Goa was made India's twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining Union Territories.

Geography and climate


Goa coastline
Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km² (1,430 sq mile). It lies between the latitudes 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E. Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats range of mountains, which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167 meters (3,827 feet). Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 miles).
Goa's main rivers are the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Sal. The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbours in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa, with their tributaries draining 69% of its geographic area. These rivers are some of the busiest rivers in India. Goa has more than forty estuarine, eight marine and about ninety riverine islands. The total navigable length of Goa's rivers is 253 km (157 miles). Goa has more than three hundred ancient tanks built during the rule of the Kadamba dynasty and over a hundred medicinal springs.
Most of Goa's soil cover is made up of laterites which are rich in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in colour. Further inland and along the riverbanks, the soil is mostlyalluvial and loamy. The soil is rich in minerals and humus, thus conducive to plantation. Some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent are found in Goa betweenMolem and Anmod on Goa's border with Karnataka. The rocks are classified as Trondjemeitic Gneiss estimated to be 3,600 million years old, dated by the Rubidiumisotope dating method. A specimen of the rock is exhibited in the Goa University.


Goa features a tropical monsoon climate under the Koppen climate classification. Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon rains arrive by early June and provide a much needed respite from the heat. Most of Goa's annual rainfall is received through the monsoons which last till late September.
Goa has a short winter season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by nights of around 21 °C (68 °F) and days of around 28 °C (84 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler. During March 2008 Goa was lashed with heavy rain and strong winds. This was the first time in 29 years that Goa had seen rain during March.


Talukas of Goa. Talukas in purple shades belong to North Goa district, and orange denote South Goa.
The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Panaji is the headquarters of the North Goa district and Margao of the south district. Each district is governed by a district collector, an administrator appointed by the Indian government.
The districts are further divided into eleven talukas – Talukas of North Goa are Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Sattari and Tiswadi, the talukas of South Goa are Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcete and Sanguem. Headquarters of the respective talukas are Mapusa, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Valpoy, Panjim, Chaudi, Vasco, Quepem, Margao and Sanguem.
Goa's major cities include Mapusa, Margao, Mormugao, Panaji and Vasco . The region connecting the first four cities is considered a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.

Flora and fauna

Equatorial forest cover in Goa stands at 1,424 km2 (549.81 sq mi), most of which is owned by the government. Government owned forest is estimated at 1,224.38 km2(472.74 sq mi) whilst private is given as 200 km2 (77.22 sq mi). Most of the forests in the state are located in the interior eastern regions of the state. The Western Ghats, which form most of eastern Goa, have been internationally recognised as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. In the February 1999 issue of National Geographic Magazine, Goa was compared with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity
Goa's wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles.
Rice is the main food crop with pulses, ragi and other food crops are also grown. Main cash crops are coconuts, cashewnuts, arecanuts, sugarcane and fruits like pineapples, mangos and bananas.The State has a rich forest cover of more than 1,424 km². Goa's state animal is the Gaur, the state bird is the Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul, which is a variation of Black-crested Bulbul, and the state tree is the Asan.
Rice paddies are common in rural Goa.
The important forests products are bamboo canes, Maratha barks, chillar barks and the bhirand. Coconut trees are ubiquitous and are present in almost all areas of Goa barring the elevated regions. A large number of deciduous vegetation consisting of teak, sal, cashew and mango trees are present. Fruits include jackfruits, mangos,pineapples and 'black-berry' ('podkoam' in konkani). Goa's forests are rich with medicinal plants.
Foxes, wild boars and migrating birds are found in the jungles of Goa. The avifauna includes kingfishers, mynas and parrots. Numerous types of fish are also caught off the coast of Goa and in its rivers. Crabs, lobsters, shrimps, jellyfish, oysters and catfish form some of the piscine catch. Goa also has a high snake population, which keeps the rodent population under control. Goa has many famous National Parks, including the renowned Salim Ali bird sanctuary. Other wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Madei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and theSalim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on the island of Chorao.
Goa has more than 33% of its geographic area under government forests (1224.38 km²) of which about 62% has been brought under Protected Areas (PA) of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Park. Since there is a substantial area under private forests and a large tract under cashew, mango, coconut, etc. plantations, the total forest and tree cover constitutes 56.6% of the geographic area.


Train carrying iron ore to Marmagao Port,Vasco
Commercial area in Panjim.
Goa's gross state domestic product for 2007 is estimated at $3 billion in current prices. Goa is one of India's richest states with the highest GDP per capita and two and a half times that of the country as a whole, and one of its fastest growth rates: 8.23% (yearly average 1990–2000). Tourism is Goa's primary industry: it handles 12% of all foreign tourist arrivals in India. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the climate. In the summer time (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.
The land away from the coast is rich in minerals and ores and mining forms the second largest industry. Mining in Goa focuses on ores of iron, Bauxite, manganese, clays, limestone and silica. The Marmagao Port handled 31.69 million tonnes of cargo last year, and accounts for over 39% of India's Iron Ore exports. The leaders in the Goan Iron Ore industry include Sesa Goa (now owned by Vedanta Resources) and Dempo. Rampant mining in areas rich in Iron Ore and other minerals is now threatening the forest cover as well as posing a health hazard to the local population. Mining corporations are also indulging in illegal mining in some areas without proper permits.
Agriculture, while of shrinking importance to the economy over the past four decades, offers part-time employment to a sizable portion of the populace. Rice is the main agricultural crop, followed by areca, cashew and coconut. The fishing industry provides employment for about forty thousand people, though recent official figures indicate a decline of the importance of this sector and also a fall in catch, perhaps coupled with the fact that traditional fishing has given way to large-scale mechanised trawling.
Medium scale industries include the manufacturing of pesticides, fertilisers, tyres, tubes, footwear, chemicals,pharmaceuticals, wheat products, steel rolling, fruits and fish canning, cashew nuts, textiles, brewery products.
The Goa government has recently decided to not allow any more special economic zones (SEZs) in Goa. This is in stark contrast to policy followed by other states of India. SEZs are known to bring tax revenues for the government and employment option for local citizens since industries flock there for lower tax rates as compared to other areas. Currently there are 16 planned SEZs in Goa. This decision was taken by state government after strong opposition to SEZs by political parties and Goa Catholic Church.
Goa is also notable for its low beer, wine and spirits prices due to its very low excise duty on alcohol. Another source of cash inflow into the state comes from many of its citizens who work abroad and remit money to their families.