By Rajan Narayan

SOME major pharma companies have been holding walk-in interviews for vacancies in their production units in Goa. This has invoked the anger of several Goan political parties. So much so that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has promised to change the recruitment policy in the private sector.
The chief minister is talking about legislative changes to make it compulsory for private firms to not only give preference to locals, but to give them permanent jobs as in the government. Earlier also when Luizinho Falerio was an industry minister attempts were made to force private companies to hire locals. This was successfully challenged in the courts by the private sector units. Under the Constitution, there cannot be any discrimination based on the identity of a person seeking employment.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of movement but unfortunately not the right to employment. The number of even the educated unemployed has been growing steadily in the recent past. It has already been reported that even graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology are not been getting placement in the private sector.
The ground reality is that there is a slowdown in the IT industry which is envisioned as the largest source of high-tech jobs. Even at the entry-level, the IT companies were offering an average of Rs10lakh to Rs50lakh to fresh engineering graduates. It is also possible that the expansion of the IIT network has led to dilution in quality of education.

SIGNIFICANTLY, the older IIT graduates in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, are not facing any problems of finding jobs for their graduates. Historically, Goans have not been able to affectively compete for the top private sector jobs. Even in the hospitality industry the majority of the top level jobs have gone to outsiders.
The late Vincent Ramos who was the group vice-president of the Taj Group of Hotels was a rare exception. The CEOs of most of our Goan five-star properties are managers hired from outside the states. This is also true of the other stakeholders in the hospitality industry. The heads of travel agencies also come from outside Goa.
In the last two years, most of the market restaurants have been started by chefs from outside the state. All the new up-market restaurants in Assagao are promoted by Delhi parties. Just as recently as last week, we received an invitation from a new bar & restaurant called “Yaar” (friends) from Komal Gupta, former resident of Delhi.
When it comes to shop-floor jobs in the industry, Goa does not seem to have skilled personnel. The largest private sector employer in the state is the pharma industry. Though the Verna industrial estate was planned as the electronic city, it was monopolized by the pharma units.

SIMILARLY, in the other industrial estates multinational and Indian pharma units have set up mega factories. Goa has only two pharma colleges, it does not have enough pharma graduates passing out to meet the needs of the pharma industry. Even more unfortunately Goans are not interested in working at shop floor jobs in pharma units. The demand is so much that some pharma units introduced night shifts for the first time. Most of those who took advantage were laborers from outside the state.
There are no large units in the states except for Zuari Fertilizers. The majority of the shop floor workers in industrial units like Hindustan Lever and Nestles are from outside the state. Educated Goans do not want to join the private industry. Semi-educated Goans prefer to go to the Gulf or to the UK where salaries for menial jobs are much higher. A Goan might not be willing to clean the toilets at Dabolim or Mopa but will do so at London’s Heathrow airport.
There are hundreds of Goans at Heathrow airport in London. This is because the wages for cleaning jobs are between 10 to 15 UK pounds per hour. In Goa they would be lucky to get Rs10,000 a month.

IT is unrealistic for the chief minister to expect the private sector to give permanent jobs to Goans. No private sector units can offer the kind of security, facilities and the number of holidays enjoyed by government servants. Even in Goa Medical College & Hospital where the working hours are long, even graduates are attracted to Class IV four jobs. The Class IV staff, earlier called servants, are now called multi-utility workers (MUS) and those who have permanent jobs are entitled to privilege and sick leave. Women are entitled to maternity leave for almost a year. All permanent employees in the GMC are also entitled to study leave. They enjoy a day off on public holidays like Buddha Jayanti and Ram Navami.
Government offices are closed on all religious occasions ranging from the St Francis Xavier feast to Tulsi Vivah. On the occasion of Ganesh Chathuri government servants get three days off but most take a week off. In sharp contrast, there are no holidays in the private sector. Indeed, in the IT industry though the salaries are attractive the minimum working hours are 10-12 hours per day.
With a large number of engineering colleges including a top institution like the Indian Institute of Technology, the National Institute of Technology and BITS Pilani, Goa is ideal for the IT sector. Unfortunately, the Goa government has not offered any incentives to the IT industry. The IT industry is a sunset industry.

THE new focus is on Artificial Intelligence. There is also scope for setting up high-tech units like the manufacture of semiconductors or even smartphones in Goa. This requires major investments. Goan industrialists have the money but are not willing to take the risk. Ultimately, Goa can take the Dubai route and become a residential and commercial destination for the bold and the beautiful and the rich and famous. Goa has already become a preferred retirement and holiday destination for high-net-worth individuals. Goa must create a robust service industry to provide the human infrastructure for converting Goa into another Dubai.

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