14 Aug 2015 | 04:47am IST
Yes Mr Chief Minister, the brain drain must be reversed
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar made a rather telling statement in the Legislative Assembly this week. His exact words were, “Educated young Goans are moving out to places like Hyderabad and Bangalore in search of IT jobs. If such a trend continues Goa will be a State for senior citizens and it will reduce the productivity of the State.” He made this statement in relation to the State’s IT Policy and the setting up of an electronic city in Tuem and an IT park in Chimbel. He added that investment in the form of creating human capital will not benefit the State if the trend continues. The Chief Minister is not wrong and it is significant that the government is aware of the migration out of Goa and the effect it can have on the population.
Brain drain or human flight capital is not new to Goa. For centuries Goans have been migrating to Bombay, Africa, Portugal and now to England, Canada, Australia and the Gulf in search of the fabled greener pasture. Better salaries, living conditions, opportunities is what is taking the highly educated, skilled and intelligent Goans to foreign shores in search of jobs and homes. Creating more jobs – 25,000 – according to the new Investment Policy of the government could indeed hold back quite a number of people in the State. This will happen so long as the jobs created are such that Goans who have studied in the State will be eligible to apply for. The IT policy of the government must take into consideration the existing courses and initiate business talks with companies that can start units or offices in Goa that will give Goans employment opportunities. It would defeat the purpose of creating jobs if the positions are then offered to persons from outside the State because there don’t exist qualified or experienced persons in Goa.
It is not, however, only in the IT sector that Goa is seeing a brain drain. Just two days prior to the chief minister’s statement, the Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza had said, again in the Legislative Assembly, that most of the qualified Goa Medical College graduates are unwilling to serve in rural areas and are even willing to quit if posted to rural areas. Most of the new graduates, he said, also seek to study further, which the government cannot stop them from doing. Here too there is a brain drain. And in both sectors – IT and medicine – the phenomenon is not restricted to Goa alone but is being seen across the country and debated too.
Herald is very aware of the lure of the West on the Goan youth. In a two-part series on Salcete youth, Herald had focused on their aspirations and their dreams. The quick survey found that many are considering a move out of Goa, though their hearts beat for the State. The main reasons the youth gave were disillusionment with the political system, lack of opportunities and low salaries. Today’s youth are not satisfied with a job which they will hold for a quarter century till they retire. Unlike their parents, today’s youth want the freedom of choosing and moving jobs, and they want to live in an environment that is clean and hygienic. It is, therefore, not just the creation of jobs that will keep back Goans in the State. There has to be a corresponding improvement in the living conditions to hold back the youth. That is where the administration and the government are lacking – in the need to bring about that qualitative change in the lives of the people. Once that is done half the battle against brain drain will have been won.
You are perfectly right Mr Chief Minister. The brain drain must be reversed and perhaps even turned into a brain gain by bringing back the Goan Diaspora to the homeland. Our youth, who are the future of this State, must be given every opportunity in this their land. Merely subsidizing their education will not work, they have to be offered a choice of jobs, and there’s nothing better than the IT industry in which to make a beginning.