Are we worthy of electoral democracy?
Are we worthy of electoral democracy? Did we fight for it and got it from Portugal and from Bharat? As it is, Portugal had electoral democracy for a limited period and then in the mode of Salazarism, electoral democracy remained under suspension and it resurfaced with the fall of Marcelo Caetano who replaced Salazar. When the electoral democratic role was entrusted to the Goans, they performed it extremely well especially when they elected the right candidates otherwise we would not get the capable candidates for our municipalities and to the Parliament in Lisbon. Because of the certain amount of educational background mandatory for every voter, Parliamentarian and a true lover of electoral democracy Dr. Francisco Luis Gomes from Navelim would never get an opportunity to attain the status of MP.
Our Goan electoral democracy is full of defects in which we buy and sell our votes and in this commercialization of votes our candidates among whom are ministers and other high ranking candidates are distributing the voters with cash money in the range of 3,000+ for every person. This means it is a big money. From where is such a big amount coming? Is it from the elders of those who are contesting the election? Not at all. The contestants were till recently like beggars, they had no proper Houses, neither even a bicycle but by completion of one term in the panchayat, many of the sarpanchas built their bungalows and purchased posh cars. These luxuries they get without doing anything. If this is the case then how those who enjoyed the “Khazur” give up the taste of making the money?
A Veronica Fernandes, Candolim
Don’t slam teachers, work on NEP
This is with reference to the chief minister saying that the teachers are to be blamed for the poor performance of students in Goa. Ironically, he seems to contradict his own statement when he says that the schools are putting pressure on students to get 100 per cent result. This all seems to be a vicious circle where he puts a lot of pressure on the teachers who in turn do the same to the students.
What the chief minister must understand is that our entire education system needs a revamping and that was already in the agenda with the introduction of NEP, which unfortunately has not seen the light of the day until date. In fact, the CM, as the education minister, should work on the implementation of the NEP instead reprimanding the teachers.
He must also consider that the classrooms are overcrowded and it is virtually impossible to pay individual attention to the students. The syllabus is too vast and the teachers have to rush through it.
In the end, happy teachers make happy students. Positive reinforcement instead of a negative one to teachers as well as students will go a long way in increasing the learning that takes place in schools.
Marie Fernandes, Panjim
Cylinder blast in Quepem was avoidable
This has reference to the report ‘LPG cylinder blast at Quepem home leaves 3 injured’ (Herald 5 August 2022). That was a very sad incident in which two women and a HP technician were severely injured. One wonders whether this incident could have been avoided in the first place, had the technician been better trained to handle gas leak situations. However, they need to learn from such incidents and ensure that the residents & the technicians themselves are safe while tackling such situations. They need to check the surroundings while attending to the faulty cylinder and ensure that precautions are in place. Everybody's life is precious. Better safe than sorry!
Melville X. D'Souza, Mumbai
Curb back door appointments in public services
The government should stop back door appointments in public services in order to ensure that equal opportunity is provided to all eligible candidates through an open, competitive process. The equal opportunity in public employment is a constitutional mandate which shouldn't be violated, especially because lakhs of youth spend years preparing for competitive exams through which employment is granted in public service. Lakhs of youth of our great nation are longing to secure public employment through open competitive process and they are working hard for the purpose of succeeding in the competitive process. The regularisation of illegal or irregular appointments would breach the fundamental rights of all eligible persons. We are living in a society where corruption and backdoor appointments are so common, that it looks like normal and right. Backdoor appointment means people pay huge for a government job. This is the best income generating source. It needs regulatory mechanism to curb backdoor appointments in public services. But system itself is corrupted. We need God to restore its sanctity.
POGO bill more essential than ever
In 2020-21, 10.5% of Goa’s population was unemployed, significantly higher than the 4.2% national average, the Ministry of labour and Employment said in a written reply tabled in Rajya Sabha.
The government’s response that unemployment is the highest in the 15 to 29 age group was 25.8%, more than double that of the national average, and marginally better than states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is alarming to say the least.
All moves listed by the ministry to improve the situation is only eyewash and will remain only on paper unless properly implemented. A brief look at the workforce currently employed at the various industrial estates, would suggest less than 10% of the local population are gainfully employed, while migrant workforce making up for the majority of the workforce. It has been well documented that various provisions put forward to benefit the local population have been shrewdly and systematically bypassed, citing lack of Goan candidates, be it in the private or government sector.
The POGO bill with a few legal modifications, could serve to right these wrongs. Why can't section 3(b) of the Bill be amended, to provide at least 50% of jobs to Goan youth in companies employing 100+ employees, and that too with a monthly salary of Rs 50,000? Similar laws have been implemented in Karnataka (2016), Andhra Pradesh (2019) and even Haryana (2021), so why can't our state government do something similar?
Neil De Souza, Margao
Rising accidents in Goa
There have been numerous accidents in Goa particularly in the recent past with some unfortunately resulting in deaths. Whilst I understand that there are many cases of drunken driving, is the Goa government really not accountable?
In many countries across the world, there are high chances of many people driving in a drunken state, but the laws there are so strict that they act as a major deterrent. May I ask what is stopping the government in taking similar measures? The Goa Police are cracking down on drunk driving but is this not a "knee jerk" reaction? Why was this not done as an ongoing strict standard procedure in the first place!!
Also contributing to the mounting accident toll are the bad roads, poor construction and maintenance, poor lighting, lack of dividers, etc. Where is all the money we are paying as taxes going?
I request the Goan ministers that instead of being quick to just put the full blame on drunk driving and giving lecture on morality, please do what you are elected to do properly.
Arwin Mesquita, Colva