State must make special efforts to generate jobs
The state government needs to make special efforts to create jobs as the routine ways have not worked. Goa has recorded the second highest unemployment rate in the country after Haryana, which is a shameful situation. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate in Goa stood at 22.1 percent in March 2021 as against the national figure of 6.52 percent. The rate of unemployment in Haryana was much higher at 28.1 percent. It is intriguing that when the unemployment rate is steadily decreasing in the country, two states with high levels of per capita income have been recording an increasing trend in unemployment. To make it worse, the state government made a statement in the Assembly recently that it does not have data of employment created in the private sector or jobs provided by the industrial units in the last three years. Thousands of vacancies in the government departments have been lying vacant for years even though the unemployment graph has been rising. The government only a few weeks ago invited applications to fill around 2,000 posts.
For years the state government has promised to create an adequate number of jobs — the figure in the reckoning being 50,000 jobs — in the private sector, apart from filling thousands of vacancies in the government departments. Unemployment has been growing in the state in the past decade. Since mining was shut down, first owing to the ban imposed by the state government in September 2012 and then by the orders of the Supreme Court, thousands of Goans have been rendered jobless and there are no signs of its revival in the near future. The unemployment scene was made worse with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. What is puzzling is that while other states have recorded a decrease in unemployment after relaxations following the lockdown were ordered by the central government last June, the latest data reveals that the unemployment situation in Goa has worsened. The unemployment rate in India declined from 6.90 percent in February 2021 to 6.52 percent in March 2021.
The state government does not have a strategy to meet the challenges of growing unemployment. Though it has been reiterating its promise of creating thousands of jobs in the private sector, its policies have found no favours with the private sector; hardly a few hundred jobs have been created by the industries approved by the Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board (IPB) over the last few years. Private industries hired workers from other states on the plea that skilled persons for the required jobs in their organisations were not available in Goa. Though the government has been speaking of training Goans under central and state government schemes for building up skills to meet the requirements of the private sector, no substantial achievements have been made in that direction. There is every possibility of the unemployment scenario becoming grim with a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, which could lead to the hospitality industry and other employers reducing employment even further.
A government that is serious about tackling rising unemployment has to first know about its nature and extent. Government statements, such as the one recently made by Industry Minister Vishwajit Rane in the Assembly, admitting that the state did not have information about employment created in the industrial sector go on to show that the government does not know the dimensions of the problem. The state government has to wake up. It cannot remain complacent or sweep the issue under the carpet by saying it does not have the data. With such an attitude the state will never overcome growing unemployment. The government has to equip itself not only with data but also policies that will help Goans get jobs in the private sector. Mining, which contributed to almost 18 percent of the state GDP, has to be revived at the earliest as many who lost jobs would be re-employed. Restart of mining would also give a push to various other businesses, which will generate their own employment. The government has to also reduce the gap between the skill requirement and skill availability.