Why Goa’s taxi wars signal a larger economic problem

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For many years, visitors to Goa have complained that the state’s taxi drivers charge passengers exorbitant prices. The complaints only intensified after the state’s taxi unions fought to keep  app-based services, such as Ola and Uber, out of Goa.

The inconvenience that this might cause tourists is only one part of the story. The other is about the deep-seated anxieties that Goa’s taxi drivers have about losing jobs to “outsiders” and of losing the ability to make a sustained living altogether.

These fears aren’t unique to Goa’s taxi drivers. The state has the seventh-highest rate of unemployment among Indian states, and the highest among the country’s small states and union territories. As Johanna Deeksha found reporting from Goa for Common Ground, across different economic sectors, workers and business owners struggle to sustain enterprises, and to earn their living.

“For all of Goa's beauty and its fun and vibrant identity, it was disheartening to hear that young people in Goa don’t feel hopeful about their futures,” Deeksha said. “Even though these young people have big dreams, they feel the need to look for opportunities in other states or countries.”

She added, “While the rest of the world flocks to the tropical paradise, Goans themselves feel like they need to leave the state in order to have better careers.”

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Ajay Krishnan
Senior Editor

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