23 Mar 2023  |   06:17am IST

The flood of Goans migrating for work is a slap on claims of making Goa a hub of opportunity & skills

Migration for bread & butter happens from less to more developed places; Goa’s migrations for seafaring or bits & pieces jobs are getting bigger; this is a crying shame
The flood of Goans migrating for work is a slap on claims of making Goa a hub of opportunity & skills

The highest elected office in the land this week mentioned that playgrounds in Goa can wait, it’s more important to impart skill training for the youth. While it is not debatable if developing skills in sports should be paused or denied to our youth, since there is a crying need, Goans will be very curious to know two things.

Firstly, it’s the year 2023. Different States in the country have taken massive leaps in start-ups, manufacturing, Foreign Direct Investments, soft and hard skills, and training and attracting massive investments in manufacturing giving opportunities to skilled manpower. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are a case in point. Goa has been speaking about skill development for a decade and a half. Can it give a report card to Goans on the number of skill training facilities set up in particular fields, the numbers trained, and the data on those who have secured jobs in Goa and beyond based on those skills?

Importantly, do skills get you jobs in Goa? The tsunami of migrations to the UK, etc, to run or work in corner stores or drive cabs continues.

Migration- the constant movement of people, often illegally is one of the most heart-wrenching realities of civilisation. After the great floods in the sixties tens of thousands left on boats east and west. Even today there are Bangladeshis in virtually every city in the world with the back stories of how they got there not clear. The same episodes are witnessed as massive waves of exodus happen from Greece to Italy with horrific stories of accidents, drownings and deaths even before they reach their destination. 2,062 migrants died while crossings the Mediterranean Sea in 2022

Wars and armed conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan and social and political unrest in North Africa have led to a massive refugee influx into Europe.

The point is that while the general impression is that people go to other countries to enhance their education and get better jobs, the truth is that maximum migration happens just to survive or eke out a living.

We are still just talking about skill training when half the young working population is in the UK & at sea

The vessel of migration of Goans is the Portuguese passport and basic English. The purpose is the same- make a living. Like in most countries from where people have moved in desperation, the migration story in Goa was induced by an absolute lack of jobs, entrepreneurship avenues, and skill raining. Access to Portuguese passports opened the doors to Europe with almost everyone choosing the UK for its English. Goans picked up jobs at the airport, at grocery, department, and corner stores. In terms of numbers, this is what the majority did.

Quite simply is this NOT a sign of the vibrant robust opportunity in Goa, where skills are imparted, and jobs given which then become careers. Why is it that every time an advertisement for a clerical government position is advertised in Goa 5,000 people line up for one vacancy including highly qualified but unemployed candidates? This getting repeated is a sign that avenues and opportunities are completely choked and a safe government job ensures a steady income. No one cares if it offers a career or growth.

Do foreigners come to Goa to work in our malls, and airports or drive taxis?

People from developed and robust economies in west Europe may come to India to work for major multinationals. But do people from the developed west come to India or Goa to work in our malls and airports or drive taxis? They don’t because they have enough work potential at home.

As a thermometer measures temperature, a multimeter measures voltage, a fathometer measures ocean depth, a system’s efficiency is measured in terms of the people who stay or migrate from their land

The rule of migration is simple though the process of migration is complex. Helplessness is the trigger for migration. Most of the thousands of Goans who leave their land and go abroad in pursuit of livelihoods leave aged parents, wives, and young children behind.  They miss out on their crucial growing-up years, are not there for their birthdays and some cannot even return for their parent’s funerals. All to earn enough to run their families.

Back in Europe or other places they often share living spaces and do jobs that aren’t white collar and mostly below par from the jobs they are qualified for, and why do they do this? Due to lack of opportunities in their home land. 

An increasing number of out-of-work young Goans, in the coastal belt, are either becoming brokers or involved in political activity attached to local leaders. Is this a sign of development, progress, or opportunity?

PM Modi, in a media conclave two days ago said his government matches promises with performance. Has Goa done that in terms of skill training or anything else?

20 years of claims of making Goa a “hub” of so many sectors have remained just claims. While giving Goans skill training is the latest of promises of making Goa into a hub of excellence, sadly, people have clearly stated that Goa slipped into a hub of corruption and extortion. Writer Fredrick Noronha in a recent column in a local daily has underlined a compilation of such claims and promises that remain just that. He wrote: “CM Sawant is telling us that Goa has the potential to become a defence manufacturing hub one day, and a “startup forum” the next. Vijai Sardesai (MLA) has been telling us that Goa has the potential to become a “floriculture State. Union Minister Giriraj Singh has told us that Goa has the potential to become the fisheries hub of the country. Never mind that people of our generation have lived through the mechanisation of our coast, traditional fishermen’s protests, and the decimation of our fish resources.”

Noronha further quoted Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho saying Goa has the potential to be a logistics hub. And reported that others have mentioned innovation hub, electronics hub, cultural hub, book city, and so on.

And during these two decades, thousands and thousands of Goans have left their families, worked hard, and remitted foreign money home. 

This is not a badge of honour but a poster of shame.



Idhar Udhar