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Over 30% of govt employees self-employed

Panaji: Stating that over 30 per cent of government employees undertake side businesses, Labour and Employment Minister Rohan Khaunte on Friday said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should crack down on such self-employed civil servants and terminate them from their services.

The minister said that over 30 per cent of the government workforce is self-employed despite the fact that unemployment is growing among youth and government jobs have been shrinking. Hence, action is needed to curb such illegal practices and create vacancies for the unemployed youth, he said. 

Khaunte was speaking at an interactive session held with chief executive officers (CEOs) and human resource (HR) managers of major industrial sectors like pharmaceutical, light engineering, tourism, chemical and others so as to take their feedback to draft the state employment policy.

He said that he will soon write to the Chief Minister, who also holds the Personnel portfolio, to form a special task force to identify such employees and also introduce informants reward scheme in line with the traffic sentinel scheme, thus giving rewards to those providing specific information about government servants undertaking business.

“Legally, a government employee is not allowed to do any business but they parallelly start a business in their spouse’s name or children’s name and supervise the business. They will have to choose between government job and self-employment. This trend has to be stopped by terminating such employees from service to create a vacancy pool for freshers to fill the gap of unemployment,” the minister said.

On the demand of the state government that industries share data on the number of locals employed by them so as to help the government to fill the skill gap, the industries claimed that they do not maintain employee database based on their domicile. Hence, they do not know who are locals and outsiders, but they agreed to share the data provided it is not shared with third party.

During the round-table discussion with HR managers, each sector stressed on the issue of last-mile connectivity for employees that has been a challenge for industries thus discouraging many Goans from travelling long distances to reach workplace. A section of the industries attributed the unavailability of local workforce to lack of transport facility which hinders work, especially during the overtime hours and emergencies. Hence, the industries sought government intervention to identify clusters and start a transportation hub model. The industries demanded raising the upper limit for overtime work hours from 50 to 100 hours per quarter by way of amending the labour laws.

The other bottleneck identified by the industries is the night shift in which no Goan is willing to work. No solution was found to this issue.

The tourism industry demanded setting up of small skill development institutes in rural areas that could aim to develop highly skilled manpower to retain talent in the sector. In addition, the industry also requested for a government-run hotel management institute to enable the industry to hire local students despite the fact that manpower is available with required skills in service areas. However, Goans work for a short term, to obtain certificate, and then move abroad, claimed the tourism industry representatives.

Representatives of the various industries also suggested counselling and outreach programmes for freshers involving educational and training institutes. 

Highlighting the issues involved in hiring Goans, especially female candidates, the chemical industry said that law does not permit it to hire female candidates to work in the second and third shifts. Hence, the chemical industry pushed for a long-pending demand for an amendment in the existing law on time relaxation.

Expressing concern over the poor skills among Goans, representatives from the food industry said that taking up a job in food technology requires graduation course in food technology as per the Food and Drugs Administration norms. However, such a course is not available in Goa. There are also not many candidates in ITI who are trained in the chemical technology except in BITS, Pilani.

The information technology (IT) industry representatives reiterated lack of skills among locals to match with their job requirement. They also complained of unavailability of updated data on candidates with skills.

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