Abdul Wahab Khan | NT
With the assembly election less than a month away, it is quite apparent that growing unemployment rate in the state is one of the prime issues with young voters also having the hike in VAT on fuel on their minds and which may affect their decision on voting. Unemployed citizens this time are more likely to vote for a change.
Goan industry is also of the view that the government’s inability to provide adequate number of jobs could cost it dearly. Most unit owners were of the opinion that employment will be one of the top issues in the voters’ mind while choosing candidates.
Though the state government has formed Investment Promotion Board with an eye on investment of Rs 25,000 crore and 50,000 jobs in five years, employment generation was poor. According to the department of industrial policy and promotion’s (DIPP) recent report on ‘Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms’, Goa’s rank on ease of doing business has slipped from 19 to 21.
Industrialist Blaise Costabir said, “Employment will be the top issue for voters in the assembly elections because every political party will be promising jobs to people. But who are the jobs going to is the main question? The Investment Promotion Board (IPB) creates employment from the projects it passes. But there is no monitoring of the IPB’s decisions. Most of the projects given the green signal by the IPB are of hotel industry. But if you go to see all the major positions in the hotel industry are held by outsiders. Our youth are still shouting that they have no jobs.”
A 24-year-old youth from St Inez said, “Unemployment will play a major role this election. I will vote for the party that I think will keep its promises on employment. I also expect many unemployed Goans to vote for a change.”
“Yes, employment is likely to be an important issue in the elections. Every government has its own agenda on job creation and every government has failed in fulfilling it. Governments are not serious in fulfilling their promises. That is why the employment situation is not improving. It is people’s fault. They are responsible for electing the government. They need to come out on to the streets and protest on the government’s inability to provide jobs only then will political parties deliver on their promise,” Abdul Majid, owner of Daud Electricals said.
“I don’t think unemployment will go against the present government in the assembly elections. The government has done enough on that front. People’s protests are delaying projects and so jobs are not created. There are companies eager to come to Goa and with the Investment Promotion Board doing its work, jobs are going to be created,” Raghuvir Mahale, formerly with Center for Business Incubation, Verna said.
Arun Naik, a sales officer from Saligao said, “I am upset with the BJP because it had promised to give unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500 per month which never came. It also assured to reduce VAT on petrol but four years after virtually abolishing, VAT was hiked.”
“People want work and they are very angry that they have no jobs. The government had promised to give about 7,000- 8,000 jobs in various departments (electricity, PWD and forest department.) But it went back on its promise and this will go against it in the elections,” Pradosh Amonkar, a Bicholim caterer said.
Forty-eight-year-old Manoj from Porvorim said, “I had high hopes that my son would get a good job and get settled. So I voted for BJP during the last assembly election but this time I am angry and will vote for opposition parties not BJP.”
“There were tall promises made during last assembly election of giving jobs and making petrol cheaper but they were only a political stunt. The state lacks conducive atmosphere for industries and so jobs are not coming,” said 32-year-old Sarfaraz Beig, a resident of Taleigao.