Sunday , 21 April 2019

Skilling Goan Youth For Private Sector

In the Assembly on Tuesday,  Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar listed the various reasons that hamper Goan youth’s employability in the private sector. One of them is lack of the skills the private employers require. There are other reasons too, which are concerned with the work culture. For instance, the private employers complain, Goan recruits seek frequent leave, affecting the schedule of operations. For these reasons, they prefer to employ workers from other states. The companies prefer to forgo the incentives ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 7,500 per month for five years from their inception given by the state government for every Goan youth employed by them. The fact that Goan youth lack the skills the private employers require has not been true in all cases, for pharmacy degree holders do get jobs in pharmaceutical companies. There are industrial training institutes (ITIs) producing skills. However, there is a huge chasm between the skills required and skills locally available, and the successive governments have not done anything remarkable about bridging the gap.

Private companies hire people from other states who are ready to put in hard work for long hours and also avail lesser number of days off and leaves. At the same time it is also true that the companies get workers from other states for lesser salaries than Goan youth of similar skills would expect. Hiring by private companies at job fairs held in other states raises concerns in Goa and the government rushes to pacify agitated Goans that it would make the private sector to give first preference to local candidates. That douses the fire and after a time the issue is forgotten. The issue was raked up in June this year when dozens of private companies participated in an employment fair in neighbouring Sawantwadi taluka of Maharashtra in which hundreds of people from other states were hired. Following the event, a similar fair was organised under the patronage of Labour and Employment Minister Rohan Khaunte at Porvorim. However, the response from the private companies as well as unemployed youth at Porvorim was lukewarm. The minister has promised to hold such fairs in other parts of the state with participation of more companies. The government threatened to make NOCs from the government necessary for any private employer before they seek recruits from outside on the ground that no local candidates are available. The NOCs have not proved of much worth. The scene has not changed. The number of Goans employed since the last threat was issues has not risen appreciably.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised to create 50,000 jobs in the state during its last tenure. It set up an Investment Promotion Board (IPB) to facilitate and clear investment proposals. The government, however, failed to achieve its objective of attracting investments and creating job opportunities. The IPB has cleared 169 projects but withdrawn nod to 26 of them after the promoters failed to adhere to the set parameters. Only 15 approved projects have started operating and provided employment to 884 people, while 26 projects that were given nod for expansion have commenced activities by recruiting 1,693 people. There are 1.21 lakh people on the live registers of the two employment exchanges in the state. The government does not have data of actual number of unemployed in the state. With no factual data available with them how can they frame a policy for employment? The government must first have a list of Goans employed and unemployed, in order to effectively help local candidates get jobs.

With the Chief Minister making it clear that the state government cannot force the private sector to employ local youth and there being few qualified people to fit the requirements of the private companies, it is unlikely that unemployment can be reduced, unless the state government comes up with a clear-cut policy of skilling and motivating Goan youth to take up jobs in the private sector. The skilling mission can be tailored according to the future needs of private companies operating in the state to produce suitable hands. However, skilling will not be enough. There should be also programmes by the government in association with voluntary associations to make Goan youth inculcate good work culture. If Goan youth have the skills and the professional temperament, private companies will be left with no option but to employ them. The government has made arrangements for creation of skills among local youth for jobs coming up at the Mopa airport. Why cannot they make similar arrangements for large private employers too?

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