Goa is a state in India within the coastal region known as the Konkan in western India. Bounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Goa is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country. 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 its 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. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, a biodiversity hotspot.
Tourism is Goa’s primary industry: it gets 12% of foreign tourist arrivals in India. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In winter, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come, and summer (which, in Goa, is the rainy season) sees tourists from across India.
The land away from the coast is rich in minerals and ores, and mining forms the second largest industry. Iron, bauxite, manganese, clays, limestone and silica are mined. The Marmagao port handled 31.69 million tonnes of cargo last year, which was 39% of India’s total iron ore exports.
Agriculture, while of shrinking importance to the economy over the past four decades, offers part-time employment to a sizeable portion of the populace. Rice is the main agricultural crop, followed by areca, cashew and coconut. Fishing employs about 40,000 people, though recent official figures indicate a decline of the importance of this sector and also a fall in catch, due perhaps, to traditional fishing giving way to large-scale mechanised trawling.
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