The two main pillars of the Goan economy, mining and tourism weren’t born yet! So how did Goa sustain itself economically? What were the employment opportunities available in Goa.

Since the colonial times Goans have migrated to foreign lands to earn a living. This trend continued even after the liberation, by India from the Portuguese in 1961. Migration mostly happened due to lack of employment opportunities in Goa.

This situation created what is known as a ‘money order economy’ in Goa. Remittance played an important role in the early years of liberation. When there were no jobs or business opportunities except traditional farming and fishing, going abroad for work was a golden ticket everyone wanted to cash.

But, this trend goes back to the times when Goa was under the Portuguese rule. Goans would often migrate to Bombay (now Mumbai) or to Portuguese colonies in Africa like Angola, Mozambique etc. some returned but many Goans settled there. That is the reason there are Goans, who can speak African languages like Swahili in Goa.

After the liberation Goans began to migrate mostly for economic gains to the Gulf and Europe. The pay would be in the foreign currency of the respective land, E.g. Goans working in Kuwait will earn in Kuwaiti Dinars. 1 Kuwaiti Dinar according to today’s exchange rate equals to 220 Indian Rupees.

This example illustrates the earning potential of an individual working abroad. There is a lot of money left over after expenses to send back home. Hence earlier it was normal to receive money through money orders from abroad or from the country itself. This money would help the local (Goa’s) economy develop by giving boost to local businesses.The proliferation effect on the Goan economy would be due to increased spending by people.

A large number of Goans began to migrate to foreign countries like U.A.E, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, England, Switzerland etc. a few years working abroad would even allow these Goans to retire early. But, nowadays the numbers of people wanting to go to foreign countries has slightly gone down due to increased job opportunities at home.

Written by Shailesh Shriram Tanpure