Tuesday 28 Jun 2022

It's Revolution day: Time to introspect on the Goa of today

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 17, 2022, 07:48 PM IST

Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho unveiled the much-awaited draft industrial policy with a focus on info-tech and land reforms. The policy aims to empower the Investment Promotion Board to deal with changes in land-use issues, and the draft proposes several other initiatives to give the industry the push it deserves. However, sadly there is no mention of job reservations for locals. The industries minister stresses the fact that incentives will be given to those companies that train and employ Goans, but does not make any mention of conditions imposed on companies to qualify for such incentives. The focus on job-creating is completely lost in the draft giving the impression that the government has been paying only lip service to employment.

Employment has been the single biggest issue that Goa has been facing for a long time, one that is primarily responsible for the outbound migration of Goans to the western world. Despite several assurances, the BJP government which is ruling since 2012 and consistently promising jobs, has failed miserably to resolve the unemployment issue even fractionally. It has made a complete mockery of our youth by announcing thousands of jobs via the IPB route right from the Manohar Parrikar regime to the current dispensation. The last assurance was on the eve of Christmas 2021 when the government gave a projection of 1,489 jobs as the IPB cleared four projects worth Rs 230 crore. If we may recall, the IPB chief executive officer had announced that these projects would carry 82 per cent local employment. In the entire 2021, the IPB had cleared projects worth Rs 832 crore and assured 78 per cent jobs for locals. Where have the jobs gone?

Cut to the present and the Industries Minister states that it is impossible to set a predefined reservation quota of jobs for locals. He says it is just not possible. But the BJP, in their election manifestos of 2017 and 2022 had mentioned that the focus was on job creation. Why are ministers talking in a different language now?

In another flip-flop, Power Minister Sudin Dhavalikar who was a staunch opponent of the Tamnar power project during his time in oblivion has returned to power and did a U-turn by now saying that the project is good for Goa. We wonder whether Sudin’s ignorance should be trusted or his shrewdness. Elsewhere, there is a discreet political war being fought. One has become a torch-bearer of communal politics, another is attempting a clean-up of land illegalities. The government is constantly playing the development bugle to overshadow shortcomings.

The reality is that the common citizen is still grappling with necessities of living like water and electricity and proper roads while those in the government are engaged in fierce communal and diversionary politics. The incredible freedom struggle has been a testimony of people’s communal unity. On June 18, 1946, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr Juliao Menezes called for unity to fight for freedom. The cause was simple: a better living and a better future.

Goa is commemorating another Revolution Day on Saturday, and it’s time that all ministers, including the chief minister, sit in introspection and course-correct. Do common citizens enjoy better living? If the answer is no, there could be a time when the people of Goa may brace up for yet another revolution.

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