When the first chartered flight of the tourism season landed on October 1, the tourists from Russia didn’t need guides or a to-do list-they went straight to Calangute in north Goa. The names Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator and Candolim, all in the north Goa district, have become synonymous with beach tourism in India.The state has two districts, North Goa and South Goa, which are further split into talukas. A bastion of the Maratha army in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the current North Goa district is a preferred location for the promotion of arts, tourism and industries. Spread over 1,736 sq. km, the district a low population density, just 471 inhabitants per sq. km. The population is predominantly Hindu (76.1 per cent), but there are Christians (16.4 per cent) and Muslims (7.1 per cent) as well. At 89.6 per cent, the literacy rate in this district is high. The area also has some mega infrastructure projects coming up, including the international airport at Mopa and the electronics city at Pernem, which will provide employment to 25,000 people.South Goa is spread over 1,966 sq. km and has a population density of 329 per sq. km. With a high literacy rate of 87.6 per cent, sex ratio of 980 women per 1,000 men, as per the 2011 Census, and 32 per cent work force, the district has huge potential for entrepreneurship.North GoaNorth Goa has been historically important since the era of the Portuguese intrusions, and then in the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji and his son Sambhaji. While Shivaji’s army had conquered Ponda, Sambhaji had taken control of Bardez. The Portuguese had made Fort Aguada their home, later used as a prison for many years and converted into a heritage site in 2015. The Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa is said to hold the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, a Catholic missionary who is credited with spreading Christianity in Hindu-dominated Goa in the 16th century.advertisementNorth Goa is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Perennial rivers like the Tiracol, Chapora, Mandovi and Zuari give it an advantage on the water availability front. Iron ore mining in Bicholim and Sattari is a big part of the character of the district. But its biggest identity is the forest cover. Almost 21 per cent of North Goa is covered with dense forest, especially in the Western Ghats section in Sattari.North Goa has also demonstrated how a traditional rural economy can be transformed into fast-growing industrial centres. There are 12 major industrial estates in North Goa; the largest, Kundaim, has 356 units.Apart from the flourishing tourism sector, pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronics industries and ship-building activities have seen a boom in recent years. The Goa government has also identified scope for industrial development in knowledge-based industries, such as biotechnology, aviation, aerospace, defence, information technology, agriculture-based economy and the food processing industry. The district also has tremendous potential in IT-enabled services, animation and gaming and digital entertainment.Goa’s arts and crafts are a blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. The majority of artisans in North Goa, mostly in Pernem and Sattari, are engaged in bamboo craft activities. Cashew is cultivated in 11,796 hectares in North Goa with production at about 8,500 metric tonnes annually.As availability of land is the biggest issue in the expansion of industries in Goa, the state government has come up with a solution. It has amended the Goa (Regulation of Land Development and Building Construction) Act, 2008, and the Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, 2010, with an aim to de-freeze around 370,000 sq. m of land in various industrial estates. It is also looking at distributing 2.4 million sq. m of land, which has been unlocked from Special Economic Zone (SEZ) promoters, to new and existing industries.South GoaSouth Goa, a land of natural beauty with its waterfalls, beaches and mountains, is also the industrial hub of Goa. A centre for sports and culture, it is home to the famous football clubs of Goa-FC Goa, Churchill Brothers and Dempo, among others. Goa’s only cricket stadium is in Margao where the Ranji trophy matches are organised.South Goa’s good infrastructure in the field of education is reflected in its high literacy rate. The law and order situation here is also comparatively better than in the north, resulting in a thriving hospitality industry.The district is also rich in minerals such as iron, bauxite and manganese ore. Some 42 per cent of the district has deep forest cover: three wildlife sanctuaries and one national park are spread over 71 per cent of the forest area. There is immense potential in knowledge-based industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics, and agriculture-based industry in south Goa. Around 70 per cent of the state’s manufacturing units are located here.advertisementThe Goa government has taken initiatives to set up IT parks all over the state. South Goa is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of this policy.