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GOA, INDIA: Goenchi Mati Movement gains political support

In the run-up to the Goa Assembly Elections that took place on 4 February, the Goenchi Mati Movement (GMM), which advocates for mining reform to fund a citizen’s dividend, gained the support of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Goa Su-Raj Party (GSRP). Its work was also endorsed by British MP John McDonnell on a recent visit.  

As previously outlined on Basic Income News, the GMM advocates mining practice reforms in Goa, India, based on the principles of environmental custodianship and intergenerational equality. An aspect of its proposal involves the investment of mining revenues into a permanent fund, to be used to finance a citizen’s dividend – a type of basic income.

The GMM asked politicians and parties contesting the Goa Assembly Elections of 4 February to endorse their manifesto, which is here available in both text and audio, in multiple languages. It also implored voters to only support those who have adopted the manifesto’s aims, as listed on their Election Tracker. The results of this election will be announced in March.

In a press release, Claude Alvares of the GMM and director of the related Goa Foundation said:

“It is a significant step that two political parties in the fray in the February 4 election have written to the GMM accepting the Goenchi Mati proposals for mining. This is a sea change in the way politicians are now seeing mineral resources, that they do not belong to mining lease-holders or the government, but to the people of the state, poor and rich. It’s about time law and political activity reflects this basic constitutional promise.”

The AAP has been making waves in recent years for its anti-corruption principles and actions. With a name that translates as “the Common Man Party”, it enjoyed a surprise victory in Delhi (of which its leader, Arvind Kejriwal, is now chief minister). The GSRP, whose name is translated as “the Goa good governance party”, also focuses on corruption issues at a regional level.

John McDonnell with Rahul Basu and Claude Alvares of the GMM. Credit: goenchimati.org

Indicating that support for the GMM is not limited to India, John McDonnell, Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, met with the main designers of the GMM on a visit to Goa over Christmas.

McDonnell’s visit was prompted by the Goans in his constituency of Hayes and Harlington, who requested that he consider the GMM’s proposal. Among those he met were Alvares and Rahul Basu, director of the Goa Foundation research cell specifically dealing with intergenerational equity issues.  

The GMM reports that McDonnell expressed his interest in exploring the potential for a similar proposal in the UK. Quoting McDonnell:

“I wholeheartedly compliment the GM campaign for the originality of its proposals. I am studying with my team of expert advisers the potential for their implementation in the UK in the near future as well. The innovative and creative approach by the GM campaign to addressing the increasingly pressing issue of intergenerational equity is truly inspiring.”

Basu has previously written for the Citizen’s Income Trust about the lessons the UK might learn from the GMM. In that article, Basu outlines the general principles of a citizen’s dividend derived from natural resource revenues:

“states should a) ensure that they receive the full value of the minerals being extracted, b) set up a Permanent Fund in which all mineral receipts can be deposited, for the benefit of future generations, and c) as this fund belongs to the people, the real income (after inflation) generated by the fund should be distributed equally to every citizen as a commons dividend, a Citizen’s Dividend. This is like a Basic Income, or a Citizen’s Income, except that the funding source is income from the commons, and the amount can vary from year to year.”

Other actions GMM have been involved in recently include a Change.org petition and a song which, according to the GMM website, “relates to the aspiration of millions of Goans worldwide, that of saving the land that is so dear to our hearts. It gives traction to the thought of saving our land, and to discuss the real and secure future of Goa for our children.”

Read More:

The Goenchi Mati Manifesto

The Goenchi Mati Movement Election Tracker

Change.org petition

Roxanne Coutinho, “PRESS RELEASE: Goenchi Mati Movement announces support from GSRP & AAP”, The Goenchi Mati Movement, 18 January, 2017.

Kate McFarland, “GOA, INDIA: Mining reform group releases Manifesto, calls for citizen’s dividend”, Basic Income News, 24 November, 2016.

Kate McFarland, “GOA, INDIA: Citizen’s Dividend promoters find support in Archbishop’s address”, Basic Income News, 10 January, 2017.

Prakash Kamat, “Environment high on Goan agenda”, The Hindu, 21 January, 2017.

Roxanne Coutinho, “PRESS RELEASE: British MP and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer meets Goenchi Mati Movement (Goa)”, The Goenchi Mati Movement, 13 January, 2017.

Rahul Basu and Deepak Narayanan, “Viewpoint: What can we learn from a campaign for zero-loss mining in Goa?Citizen’s Income Trust, 3 August, 2016.

Reviewed by Cameron McLeod

Photo: Goa, India, CC 2.0 by @SunishSebastian

About Genevieve Shanahan

Genevieve Shanahan has written 20 articles.

Genevieve is a graduate of University College London, with an MPhil in philosophy. She currently works at the Grenoble Ecole de Management, assisting with research on young people and work in Europe, and otherwise reads and writes about basic income.

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