Frequently Asked Questions

‘We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’

What is the Goenchi Mati movement?

Ours is a group of people advocating a set of reforms to mining. Mining is inevitable in today’s world but we believe it can be done responsibly, and keeping in mind future generations of Goans.   

What’s mining got to do with Goa’s children?

The Goenchi Mati Movement is based on two fundamental truths:

  • Minerals are part of the commons: they belong to the people, with the state as a trustee, or a custodian. This is according to the Public Trust Doctrine of the Constitution of India.‬
  • Intergenerational equity: This means that future generations should inherit what we inherited. We are simply custodians of the planet and natural resources. ‬

So wait, you’re saying I have a stake in the iron ore mined in Goa?

Yes. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, natural resources “are held by the State as a trustee on behalf of the people and especially the future generations. These constitute common properties…“. Simply put, the minerals are a part of our commons, and the state is merely a trustee.

Oh, and not just in Goa, all minerals all over India and the world are part of the citizens’ commons.

And this gets transferred to my kids?

When we inherit something, we are simply custodians. We are obliged to preserve the value of our inheritance and pass it on to our children. This is also called the Intergenerational Equity principle.

In English, please…

Imagine you inherit a gold chain.

You would prevent the theft of the chain so that some day you could it give it to your child as his/her inheritance. Even if you sold that, you would keep that money in an FD or use it to buy something else of value that would still be equal to the value of your child’s inheritance.

Gold chain = minerals

If you can’t prevent mining and the theft of what are your minerals, you can at least ensure that your child gets his/her inheritance by creating something else of value for them.

How would we create value for the kids?

Through a Future Generations Fund or a Permanent Fund. An endowment fund held in trust by the state, with the people and future generations as the beneficiaries. Since we own the fund in common, all the real income from the fund (after reinvesting for inflation) must be distributed equally to all as a Citizen’s Dividend, as our right of ownership.

Ha! Like that would ever work

It does! In Alaska through the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and The Petroleum Fund of Norway. This could be Goa’s future too!

This almost sounds too good to be true…

Yup, we keep hearing this. Most people find this concept unbelievable, utopian, especially when obtaining even basic government services is a struggle. But, it’s all true.

The only major concern that’s come up is that if a vast majority of people see personal dividends from mining, won’t it encourage more mining? Not the way we have structured the fund. Besides, how much more mining is possible?

Won’t miners be unhappy with this?

We’re being fair to the miners too. The way we have constructed the Fund:

  • Miners earn a reasonable profit (our calculations assume a 20% post tax return on assets)
  • The full costs of mining are paid, including to the mining dependent
  • The state fulfills its constitutional duties as a trustee
  • The inheritance of our future generations is protected
  • We, the people, benefit from the Citizen’s Dividend, provided we have truly acted as custodians of our inheritance

This seems like too much work, how can we even implement this?

Guess what? The Supreme Court has already ordered that a Permanent Fund must be set up. They want to implement intergenerational equity on grounds that Goa’s reserves and environment and social fabric have already been damaged. The Court even appointed an Expert Committee to examine this issue and recommend a cap on mining.

So half our work is already done.

So what’s the Ore Chor 144 campaign about?

In simple words, it’s the most important step in the overall movement – a campaign to urgently stop illegal mining.

In its 2014 judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that all mining activity between 2007 and 2012 was illegal. The state government, instead of recovering our minerals as directed by the court, retrospectively renewed 88 mining leases (60 of them in one week)!

We have estimated the loss to the public from these renewals at Rs 1,44,000 crores (you can go through our calculations here). Basically, between the state and the miners, they have stolen one hundred and forty four thousand crores of our money. That’s 1-4-4 followed by TEN zeros. Let that sink in.

In the run up to the 2017 elections, our demand is that whichever party comes to power commits to cancel these illegal leases.

What can I do?

Get involved.

Tell everyone you know about this incredible concept by Facebooking, tweeting, signing up for our mailers.

Volunteer your time and skills. We desperately need people to help get this movement off the ground and soaring.

This is yours and your future generations we’re taking about.

Goenchi Mati is all about Goa’s earth. Our Goa.