Media reported Goa’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar as saying that his government is to set up centers for LGBT youth where they will be trained and administered medicine in order to make them "normal.”
"We will make them normal. We will have a centre for them. Like Alcoholic Anonymous centers, we will have centers" Tawadkar was quoted as saying while speaking to reporters Jan 12 on the sidelines of an event held in the state capital Panaji to launch Goa State Youth Policy 2015 on the occasion of National Youth Day.
The policy lists "stigmatized" LGBT youth as one of the many "target groups" that require" focused attention."
When asked by reporters as to the exact nature of these centers that the government was proposing to set up for LGBT youth, Tawadkar said: "We will train them and (give them) medicines too."
A detailed survey would also be carried out among the state’s LGBT community so that their problems could be specifically addressed, Tawadkar said pointing out that this would be similar to other "target groups" such as juvenile offenders, young drug addicts, migrant and other disadvantaged youth.
The government in Goa like that of the Indian federal government is ruled by the anti-gay Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that has opposed any move to nullify the Supreme Court’s re-criminalizing of consensual same-sex relations.
The party has publicly said it would not scrap Section 377, the colonial-era law that defines same-sex relations as “unnatural” and punishable by up to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court in January last year chose to retain the law.
Goa, a former Portuguese colony for 450 years is now India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. It is the country’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the national average and is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists for its beaches, heritage architecture, cheap alcohol prices and Portuguese-Indian cuisine.
For many in India and abroad, Goa with its multitude of picturesque beaches and tropical landscape on the western Indian coast, remains the country’s beach party capital and where public displays of affection are socially possible without harassment unlike other parts of mostly conservative India.
Tourism is Goa's primary industry handling 12 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals in India.