Sometime back, a minister, while addressing a Legislative Assembly session, offered to pay his colleague if his people were given ‘government’ jobs. This act of his seemed very akin to throwing an enticing bid at an auction to win jobs for his supporters.
This is the level of desperation for getting employed in Goa. It also speaks volumes about the dire situation in the employment market. It’s not just difficult to land a job but it also needs clout and financial muscle to squeeze it out of a tight job market. Merit or competency in the selection of a candidate is way down on the criteria list.
Former US Vice President Hubert H Humphrey (1965-69) had once said; “there is no such thing as an acceptable level of unemployment, because hunger is not acceptable, poverty is not acceptable, poor health is not acceptable and a ruined life is not acceptable”.
India’s unemployment rate, which had ratcheted up to 10.05 per cent in September last year, is stubbornly hovering around 7 per cent due to rural joblessness, as per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data. A weak monsoon had dipped economic activities in rural areas pulling down the job numbers.
Back home in Goa too, it’s not a rosy job scenario with the state coming at the second spot for joblessness – not a desirable distinction. Data released by CMIE in October last year revealed that the state’s employment rate has consistently been in the double digit since July 2022 as it climbed to 11.6 per cent in January, 2023, reaching the peak at 15.5 per cent in April and easing a bit at 13.7 per cent in August.
The finding of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) put out by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) late last year is also not very encouraging for the state.
The job survey was conducted between July 22 and June 2023. Goa’s 9.7 per cent unemployment rate is the second highest in the country, next only to the archipelago Lakshadweep’s 11.1 per cent and way above the national average of 3.2 per cent.
A closer look at the figures shows the overall unemployment rate of Goa is being propelled by high joblessness in rural areas (11.3 per cent) and female (14.7 per cent). The unemployment rates of urban areas (8.7 per cent) and male (7.7 per cent) remained in single digits.
Being a key indicator of the economic health of a country or a state, a high unemployment rate is not good news. A state of unemployment is defined as when an individual, who is jobless and is seeking employment, cannot find gainful work.
When the number of these kind of individuals rises, it could mean the government is not doing something right. With a literacy rate of 88.70 per cent, there are enough employable people available in Goa.
The other end of Goa’s job puzzle of employers scouting the state for employees also falls nicely in place. The pieces that do not fit are: most Goans do not want to be employed outside the state and their obsessive fascination for government jobs.
In their wait for these two, many Goans find themselves on the unemployment flight, flying to nowhere or taking up ‘forced entrepreneurship’. Forced entrepreneurship is self-employment to take care of your bills. This phenomenon is on the rise not just in Goa but across the country.
Some years back, Goa University-affiliated Goa Business School (GBS) faced a queer problem. Many top corporates landed at the campus to hire fresh management graduates and even made job offers to them. A large number of them declined; not because of lower-than-expected remuneration but because of their hesitation to leave their home state.
Now, the number of corporates taking part in GBS’s campus placement has fallen. Students keen on placement outside state approach them directly. Remarkably, the number of students interested in campus placement is very low. In the current academic year, of the 60 students in a class, only 22 were interested in being placed on the campus. Of them, 18 were offered internship.
It’s not easy to clinch government jobs too. As it is, government departments and offices are overstaffed – on an average four people are doing the job of one person. And so, whenever the government advertises a vacancy, hordes of people queue up for that one position.
Many a times, this triggers the alleged ‘auction for job’ among candidates. The alleged bid could go as high as Rs 50 lakh. It’s this ‘auctioneering’ method of job acquisition that breeds corrupts in government offices.
Last year, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant informed that close to 2,500 government jobs were created and filled in the state.
Another reason why joblessness has spiked is because literacy or education has stripped many professions like electrician, mechanics, carpentry, catering, housekeeping and others of dignity even though they pay well. Many educated professionals shy away from taking up these jobs.
In essence, if Goa’s employment quandary is to be addressed, it would require harnessing the Goan’s susegad to place him on the job market.