REALITY: The harsh reality is that the majority of those who qualify for the Indian Institute of Technology colleges and other top engineering colleges cannot do so without coaching.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when a large number of failures amongst those who apply for Goa Civil Service jobs. For a Saturday following the week when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant does not appear to be sincere about saving the Mandovi river of Goa or even Goa for that matter. For a Saturday following the week when the Goa Electronic Corporation which designed the Goa taxi app for the Tourism department is more greedy than even the taxi mafia. For a Saturday following the week when the first batch of krantiveers started their training program at the military engineering service battalion at Navelim. For a Saturday following the week when the former chairperson of Infosys, Narayan Murthy blamed Kota for the falling standards of the Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management.

AND a few stray thoughts on the large number of failures among those who apply for Goa Public Service Commission (GPSC) jobs. There have been repeated reports of the thousands of candidates who appear for jobs for Mamladars in the Revenue department with over 99% but do not pass even the written exams. The minimum qualification for candidates applying for the post of Mamlatdar, Block Development Officer or Vigilance Officer is a degree in law. It has been experienced by the Goa Public Service Commission which conducts this exam that 10% pass the written exam.
This is also true of other jobs for recruitment done by the GPSC. We are making this distinction as GPSC is an autonomous independent organization and the government cannot interfere with its decision. It is only in the case of grade II (lower division and upper division clerk) and grade IV (peons and multi-utility workers) that ministers and their chamcha can appoint anyone they want against bribes payoffs. Unfortunately, even in the case of the Goa Public Service Commission to a large extent, the interview that follows the written exams is under the control of the government.
Everyone in Goa wants to get government jobs. The salaries are good. You don’t have to do much work. You can be laid-back and have no worries. You are entitled to a pension. You get not only maternity leave but paternity leave too. Unfortunately, the education system in Goa is so poor that most of applicants do not even know what a Mamlatdar does.
A candidate who came home to meet me told me that the main job of the mamlatdar is to issue domicile and residence certificates. Overlooking the fact that the primary job of the mamlatdar is to look into the mutation of land records.
After Liberation the then first chief minister of Goa, Dayanand Bandodkar, passed a law under which all land actually cultivated by the tenant should be transferred to him at a nominal price. Similarly in the case of mundkar, who are also personal employees of the bhatkar or landlord, there were lots of 300 mtrs in rural areas and 200 mtrs in urban areas. The mamlatdar is responsible for transferring the land to the tenant or the mundkar after receiving the nominal fees.
Subsequently, the name of the landlord was removed and the name of the tenant substituted as owner of the land. The tragedy is that very few of the candidates who applied for jobs have studied thethe tenancy and mundkar act. Unfortunately, more students don’t take civic books at the 10th standard which deals with the issue seriously.

IN addition to jobs-related questions, there is also general knowledge. The GK paper is primarily devoted to the history of Goa. There are many students ignorant about the Liberation of Goa and the Opinion Poll. Even more importantly even though they were supposed to be law graduates they are not aware of the inventory code.
Under the Portuguese civil code, on the death of any Goan, an inventory has to be drawn up of his assets and liabilities. This is because under the civil code, 50% of the ancestral property goes to the spouse whether it is husband or wife and only the remaining 50% distributed equally amongst all the heirs which include brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, in-laws. The situation is complicated by the fact that the 50s and 60s generation of Goans had large families of eight to ten children. So much so to sell a single property 50 or more signatures were required.

AND a few stray thoughts on when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant does not appear to be sincere about saving the Mandovi river. Though the chief minister keeps talking about taking the matter to the Supreme Court no instructions have been given to the advocate general. It must be recalled that former Advocate General Atmaram Natkarni fought very hard to reject Karnataka’s proposal to divert the headwaters of the Mhadei river which arise in Karnataka’s Western Ghats forested hills but flow naturally through Goa including its Mhadei wildlife sancturary.
All the Opposition parties including Goa Forward, Congress and the Goa Revolutionary Party joined the campaign to save the Mhadei. We fail to understand why Prajal Shakardande, who has never been involved in the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, has been chosen to lead the organisation. Significantly, Nirmala Sawant, who was the head of the Mhadei Bachao Ahiyan movement has been very silent although she has gone on record now for saying that there has been no real political will in Goa and the Mandovi is as good as doomed.
The importance of Mhadei to Goa has been very eloquently described by Dr Oscar Rebello as below:
An interesting and rather indisputable fact of Life!!
Water has no Religion,
Water has no Caste,
Water has no Ethnicity,
Water has no Race,
Water has no Nationality,
Water has no Social Status,
Water has no Pride,
Water has no Arrogance,
Water has no Language,
Water has no Hubris.
In fact, if we ponder deeply, we are not really Hindu or Muslim or Christian.
We ain’t Black nor Brown nor White.
We are not really Chinese or Asian or American or Russian.
In strictly biological terms, we are actually just WATER
(At least 70% Water and 30% Bullshit).
The Mhadei crisis is well and truly upon us.
And, compared to all the little battles that Goa has fought over the decades, this one is the Mother of them all.
Epic, Existential and End Game!!
A Mahabharata if you will.
We, the Pandavas of Goa, against the double-engine, double-speak , double-backstabbing Government of the Day!!
Everyone, and l mean Everyone, must get onto the same page to wage this mighty battle for Goa’s survival, using every vestige of power and influence at our disposal to change minds and win hearts in the corridors of power.
Apocalypse is well and truly at our doorstep.
Let all groups, both political and activist, do the stuff they deem right.
The moneyed, the well-oiled and high-heeled of Goan society must whisper and influence Delhi at their personal levels.
The common man, the teacher and the cop, the student and the labourer, the priest and the criminal, must all add to the chorus.
Every single lawyer and politician must unite to work out a new plea bargain, so that Goa’s interests are never compromised.
We must write and we must talk and we must educate.
We must consult, coordinate, and compromise a little, if necessary.
But we simply cannot fail.
The two absolute heroes of this movement to save the Mhadei, Goa’s priceless gems, will always remain Prof. Rajendra Kerkar and Madam Nirmala Sawant.
For aeons now, they have been waging lonely battles, both legal and on the ground, to get us out of this quicksand.
Their voices must remain the most authoritative and binding on all of us.
We need to conserve water, harvest water, desalinate water, and put a full stop to those gargantuan swimming pools built as badges of honour in the homes of the rich and famous.
The urgency of these measures can never be overstated in our present predicament.
So no, we are not the land of St Francis Xavier or Parshuram.
We are not really the Kashi of the South or the Rome of the East.
We are not Konkani or Marathi or Kannada or Portuguese.
We are not United Goans (never were) or Revolutionary Goans.
We are not political or religious labels.
All these epithets make for great poetry and romance.
What we truly are, and what is our real identity, if we carefully flesh it out, is this:
We are the Mhadei.
That is our true, non-controversial, divine and sublime identity.
However insignificant your contribution may be to highlight the plight of the Mhadei (as this column of mine), make that contribution.
Join a fellow comrade.
Move shoulder to shoulder.
Lend a hand
in this murky, murderous, moribund Land of ours that we call Goa. For one thing is crystal clear:
If the Mhadei gets diverted,
We can all walk, eyes wide shut, collectively, into the Arabian Sea. sr mention

AND a few stray thoughts on when the Goa Electronic Corporation which designed the Goa taxi app for the Tourism department is more greedy than even the taxi mafia. The Goa Miles app on average charges Rs800 from Panaji to Dabolim airport, my wife travelled from Dabolim to Dona Paula in a non-AC freelance taxi and paid Rs1,100 (Rs50 for some new Zuari Bridge toll).
I also understand the rates applicable at Mopa airport are much lower than what the Goa Tourism app offers. The Goa Tourism app which is managed by GEC staffers billed a customer Rs5,000 from Mopa airport to Benaulim.
In another case a customer was charged from Rs5,000 plus from Mopa to Pololem in Canacona. The average rate per kilometer comes to Rs50 per km for the first time even though the freelance taxi mafia which has been charging exorbitant fares are spreading the lies that Goa Miles app rates were much too high. Even the taxi mafia rates are significantly lower than the Goa app rates.
We guess this is what happens when you trust hand over any responsibility to the government. The GEC is a public sector corporation. Virtually half the tariffs they charge are service fees of the GEC commission. In addition there is the GST. At the rate fixed by Rohan Khaunte the cost of a flight from Bombay and Bengaluru to Goa is half the taxi fare charge by the Goa app. It was always expected that taxi fares will become astronomical when the Mopa airport was commission. This is because the distance from Mopa airport to any 5-star hotel in south Goa like the Taj Exotica is a 100km.
Originally, there was a plan to build an expressway to connect Mopa to South Goa but that idea has been scrapped or is in waiting. The Goa government has not been able to connect Pernem to Mopa but on the Maharashtra side there’s been a lot of activity building highways to tourist villages like Vengurla, Ratnagiri, Tarkali, etc. In fact charter tourists landing in Mopa have already started moving into south Maharashtra in preference to noisy, litter-filled, crime-oriented Goa.

AND a last stray thought for a Saturday following the week when former Infosys chairman Narayan Murthi blamed Kota for the falling standards of the IITs and IIMs. Over the years the quality of education, particularly in engineering, has fallen very badly. The whole concept of the IITs was that students should be encouraged to think. Students admitted to the IIT were not supposed to be parrots mugging notes and papers.
Which is what the institutes in Kota are doing. Kota has 150 coaching institutions. The entire city depends on coaching classes. Hostels and hotels are totally devoted to coaching classes. The pressure is so much that there are an average of more than 50 suicides every year because the kids can’t cope with parental pressures stressing them out. Goa has its own share of Kota in the form of Aryaan which has collaborated with Musthifund. Similarly, a coaching centre from Kota has collaborated with the Dempos.
We understand that even rural colleges like the Parsekar college in Morjim has started coaching for the IITs. It is interesting in this context that Indian origin Prime Minister of UK Rishi Sonak has stipulated that all students in the UK should study maths up to the age of 18. The historical problem with the most competitive exam is that students stumble in maths, something this country used to excel in the old days.

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