There you have it. The employment bonanza that the government unveiled for job seekers, is going to cost the exchequer Rs 120 crore annually at current salary structures. That’s a lot of money for a government that is facing financial difficulties. The recent Budget presented in January showed that 24 per cent of the government expenditure goes towards salaries, wages, pensions and gratuity. Another 13 per cent goes towards grant-in-aid and other transfers. The new recruitment is going to add to the government’s wage bill, putting more pressure on the exchequer that is already feeling the strain of meeting payments on time. Some government departments got salaries late this month. The State cannot be stretching its financial resources to meet the salary bill every month.
Goa does not have the easy availability of money to pay additional staff, so, do we require to populate the government departments with more employees? Goa currently has one government servant for every 25 persons in the State, a ratio that is far higher than that of any other State. This would call for some reforms in government employment to rationalise the government servant to population ratio, instead the recruitments that are currently happening will further add to the financial burden and the bloated department staff. Another 3000 persons are expected to join the ranks of government servants in the coming months. With digitization, the government was expected to be able to trim down the number of employees, but this doesn’t appear to be happening. The opposite of this is occurring.
The duty of the government is to facilitate the increase of jobs in the private sector, but this apparently is not happening, despite the expectations of increased investment in the State from the private sector that would lead to employment opportunities. Hence, the dependence on government jobs. The parties, in the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections had promised jobs, but once elected to power, it does not mean that the jobs have to be in government departments. Last year, the Chief Minister at a function had said that no specific number of government jobs had been promised during any election campaign. But somehow the youth await government employment, shunning the private sector.
There does appear to be a certain fixation among jobseekers that government jobs are the best. There are queues of applicants outside every government department that has advertised openings. Last year, over 2500 aspirants had turned up for 64 temporary contractual posts at the North Goa District Collectorate. In contrast, the Goa Bizfest held just a little earlier, and had included a career fair in which over 76 companies participated there were 1717 job seekers who turned enquiring on job opportunities. The yearning for a government job is possibly because of the long weekends, public holidays, less work load compared to the private sector, but that, reduces the possibility of experimenting and looking for opportunities and challenges that may arise in the private sector.
The hunger for government jobs is an indication that the education system is not preparing the youth to meet the challenges of a vibrant private sector and technology-driven companies. The Goan youth appears to prefer the security of a government job to the testing times of the private sector. That mindset too has to change. Rather than create government jobs, the State has to promote the private industry and companies in such manner that youth will keep open the option of taking up employment in this sector. MLAs should also realise that employment does not mean doling out jobs to their constituents. The State’s finances cannot be burdened as a return gift for votes during an election.