Herald: The unemployment scenario in Goa

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The unemployment scenario in Goa

30 Sep 2018 05:34am IST

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By Antonio Lobo

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30 Sep 2018 05:34am IST

Report by
By Antonio Lobo

The farce concerning the vaunted policy of the Governments of Goa down the years that industrialisation of Goa was meant for the benefit of Goans , has been finally dropped by the chief minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar when he declared in the Assembly of Goa, that there is no way that the Goa Government can insist and ensure that the factories and industries setup in Goa will employ at least 80% Goans.

Industrialization of Goa started in the late 1970's with one of the major industries being Zuari Agrochemicals Ltd established as a signal  that the government was serious about getting into the category of developed industrialized States of India. Subsidies to the extent of 25% of the investment needed for setting up the small, medium or large industries were offered by the Goa government and, for the purpose of facilitating access to land, Industrial Estates were established on properties acquired mainly from the Comunidades of Goa. Such initial and subsequent steps that were taken on that path, were accompanied by promises by the Chief Ministers and Industries Minister of the time, that Goans would be the beneficiaries as they would be given employment in such industries. Such assurances were repeated time and again to justify more and more factories and even power-guzzling and pollution-spewing industries such as cold-steel rolling mills and other manual abour-intensive factories, knowing fully well that Goa did not have the manual labour in the numbers required. In hindsight Goans came to realise that our representatives had gone all out to lull the people in order to prevent protests, whilst obliging the "birds of passage" flocking to Goa attracted by the liberal subsidy promised, lower electricity tariffs and a moratorium on taxes ( for ten years) and other benefits that formed part of the package. For that reason such industrialists were avidly courting Government officials and Ministers and were ever willing to throw part of what they expected to receive later, as grease to make the wheels move faster. The crucial question which our" administrators "refused or were unwilling to pose to themselves and/or to answer was: How were Goans supposed to benefit from the liberal largesses being offered by the Government to promote and encourage an industry and/or to benefit from the employment generated or expected to be generated in such industries given that the government had no programme for trainingpotential entrepreneurs amongst the Goan population nor did it have any idea and/or projection as to the type of employment that would be generated  nor did it have any educational Institution in place for such training ? The Development Commissioners and the Industries Ministers did not only not have any idea but worse, did not seem to care. This writer at one time formed and led a grouping of unemployed youth from Goa which called itself the "Bekar Goemkarancho Ekvott" and in one of the initial meetings with the then Development Commissioner late Dr. J.C. Almeida a question was literally posed in these words. "How can you expect a baby to run awhen he has not even learned to walk?". It's meaning was very clear: that all the programmes of the Goa government from inception, were not for the benefit of Goans but only served the purpose of carrying out the agenda set by the Centre and pursued vigorously by the I.A.S lobby, through whom the strings were pulled, to show to the world that India was doing to Goa what Portugal had not, namely , to industrialise Goa for the good of the local population. 

That as a consequence of this policy the population of Goa would be diluted by the introduction of  non-Goan entrepreneurs and a non-Goan workforce, did not matter and did not factor in their thinking and planning. In this  effort, the programmes initiated on the covert and overt directives of the Centre  resulted in persons from other States settling in Goa in droves, both educated as well as illiterate, who started flocking to our shores. These people, especially the illiterate, mainly coming from the lowest strata, not only from the neighbouring States but even from farther afield, took advantage of the open and unoccupied and sometimes uncultivated land that was the scene prevailing in Goa at the time, to illegally setup their tents/huts as temporary quarters perhaps to test the waters, later to convert them into permanent residences  when the moment was  right.  That this was fixed in their own favour by having the authorities look the other way, for a consideration, became obvious to the people later. This was the beginning of the mushrooming of slums, beginning with Vasco Da Gama and its surrounding areas and then spreading to the rest of Goa. The elected representatives did not seem to have a clue as to what and how to act or pretended not to have. It is however true that if at all there was ever any will on the part of most of these "representatives" to protect the interests of Goans, such scruples were thrown to the winds  by the illegal benefits that most of them started receiving from those that were afraid that legal action might be taken against them. Later, the tables turned in favour of the illegal occupier of the land when vote bank politics was came into play...but, this a subject for another time. 

 Corruption and graft entered the polity of Goa from the year 1975 or thereabouts, soon after the signing of the peace treaty between Portugal and India recognising India's sovereignty over Goa,Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is mainly after that self respect and probity in public life began to collapse, at first slowly but later with a cascading effect.  

The farce concerning the vaunted policy of the Governments of Goa down the years that industrialisation of Goa was meant for the benefit of Goans , has been finally dropped by the chief minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar when he declared in the Assembly of Goa, that there is no way that the Goa Government can insist and ensure that the factories and industries setup in Goa will employ at least 80% Goans.

However, this begs the question as to why the Goa Government cannot ensure that qualified Goans are employed in Government services? Why it is that the ranks of the Goa police, of the PWD, of the Electricity Department, of the Town and Country  Panning Department, and others, have such a high number of non Goans employed in them, to the extent that even  in the posts of drivers and peons on can find non-Goans employed?

 This situation assumes significance as the Government has insisted thatknowledge of Marathi would give an added advantage to the candidate seeking employment.This policy has two well known disadvantages: Any Maharashtrian from the neighbouring areas of Goa can be employed in Goa as he knows both the languages needed. Another obnoxious (and perhaps intentionally maintained) effect is that it prevents the minority population, especially the Catholic who has suffered a double whammy in having to submit himself/herself to a test in nagri Konkani in which he was not proficientand not knowing Marathi.

 But, what Parrikar stated in the Assembly is not entirely true.  Under the law, and under the Constitution and in any State in India a clause stipulating a minimum number of years of residence in that State. This is  Constitutionally valid. This has been the practice in every State in India. In Goa unfortunately it seems that the Politicians can fool all the people all the time. Time and time and time again. 

Can anyone question why goans have therefore been emigrating in droves to the four corners of the world?? Will the congress party and pratap singh rane who was the Chief Minister for decades answer why  feel the need goans to clean toilets abroad  if employment with a satisfactory salary had been made available to them in Goa ? Why it is that Pratap Singh Rane has the audacity and brazenness to sneer at Goans who perform what he considers to be demeaning jobs abroad? What can be the fate of Goans and especially of the minorities in the hands of such rotten leadership?  Do you wonder why it  is  that the maoists have flourished in so many of the States in India ?
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