21 Nov 2020  |   05:34am IST

Is government pushing the State towards a debt trap?

Is government pushing the State towards a debt trap?

With just about a year left for the general elections and postponed Zilla Parishad polls scheduled to be held next month, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant appears to be luring voters with promises of jobs yet again. Sawant on November 19 told media persons that around 10,000 vacancies have been created in government departments and advertisements for recruitment will be issued soon, either before or after the Zilla Parishad polls. He said the moratorium on recruitment will be lifted from November 30. What is surprising is that the CM’s announcement has come a month after he said that it is difficult to provide government jobs to all Goan residents. He had at that time gone to the extent of saying that even God cannot undertake this task of providing government jobs to every Goan aspirant.

Another shocking revelation which came from the CM was that the State’s financial condition has improved in the last two months. One wonders how can the financial condition of the State improve so quickly and during the pandemic, when the entire country is facing an economic crunch due to the same pandemic. Also, when the State is reeling under a debt of Rs 21,000 cr, how can anyone say the financial condition has improved? If the financial condition had indeed improved, would the State have borrowed Rs 300 cr, as it did recently?

Recruiting staff numbering nearly 10,000 would mean that the State would have an additional expense of Rs 360 cr annually (considering an average salary of Rs 30,000 a month). How does the CM intend to overcome this additional expense in a State that is borrowing Rs 300 cr every month? If indeed the financial condition has improved why are the DSSS and Griha Adhar beneficiaries not receiving their monthly pensions regularly and these are being cleared in phases? If the financial condition has improved why are the bills of government contractors not cleared for months? If the financial condition has improved why do Goan roads continue to remain in a pathetic condition with the PWD now doing patchwork job? If the financial condition has improved why has the State borrowed nearly Rs 3000 cr in just the last six months?

It is very clear that the Chief Minister is trying to justify the recruitment by suggesting that the State is financially sound. He also knows that with the youth dissenting across the State, the only trump card he can play is by luring them with jobs. He also knows that with the recruitment card he can kill two birds with one stone – give BJP a better chance to win the elections and take the steam out of the protests everywhere, be it IIT Goa, Mhadei, double tracking, anti-coal, where the youth are participating in a big way. The pressure for recruitment on the CM is also from the BJP wherein the youth karyakartas have started questioning the delay. 

The interesting poser is whether recruitment ahead of every election has become mandatory for ruling political parties to win election by luring the youth? It’s an open secret that the general practice with the ruling politicians is to provide government jobs only to persons of their choice including their family members, relatives, friends and also the ultimate voters who remain close to them on a regular basis. By this, though talented and efficient candidates may compete, they will not secure a government job. So indirectly, this means the party workers or those close to ministers will benefit from this largesse, while the others will be simply ignored. While the recruitment of 10,000 workers may benefit BJP in the elections, the fact remains that the present government is surely pushing the State towards a debt trap. 


Iddhar Udhar