Goa has since liberation in 1961 come under Union territory domain and only attained Statehood in1987. It has missed several Plan periods and as such many of the Central Government bodies have not been located in Goa. It is a nascent village state and unfortunate political instability since Liberation and more so in the 1990s contributed to its lopsided development.
The youth in Goa from the age of 14 years to 35 years are a volatile lot given the high density of population in the 104 km long coastline belt which is a fast developing region with tourism as its mainstay. The Central region the mining belt and the Ghat region are sparsely populated.
Mining has usurped the traditional occupations of agriculture and riverine activities which were the mainstay of the population of these areas. Those that have been rooted out from traditional occupation have compulsorily to find employment opportunities in mining or allied industries or move to the prosperous coastal belt.
Those in coastal belt have either to look for gainful employment locally or seek pastures overseas or in oil producing nations. In fact due to advancement our youth tend to look down upon traditional occupations and prefer white collar employment.
The biggest problem facing the youth today is that there is a mismatch between education or vocational training and the industry, agriculture and service sector.
No Government has till date prepared a manpower requirement to ascertain the job prospects for those who are educated. At times industry, agriculture or the service sector are unable to find locally trained personnel to meet their needs. Are there as many pharmacists, labour officers/ personnel managers, agriculture graduates or technical personnel to manage barges or its repairs? This scenario has emerged due to gross failure in governance.
There is no consensus on the industrial, agriculture services or education, policy in Goa. The policies if any, keep on changing with governments as they take their turn to rule. This has caused either surplus in the type of educated trained personnel on one side or non availability on the other.
Low remuneration in the unorganized sector which does not demand formal education has resulted in the youth going astray.
What ails the youth therefore is that they are at cross roads. We have educated unemployed or under employed and those with potential for self employment unable to meet the nitty gritty of survival by way of finance, support services or market for sale of their products.
Given the picture it is not surprising that our youth with highly westernized culture more relevant in the coastal belt, due to 451 years of Portuguese rule and since 1982 the advent of TV in Goa, are feeling neglected. Tourism having taken the number one place in Industry relegating mining to second place and agriculture almost ruined to uneconomical, the competition for fewer jobs and mismatch between education and industry has taken its toll on our youth.
Youth at the cross roads are drawn into alcoholism, prostitution, gambling, drug abuse and other criminal activities etc. The petro dollar or the money order economy has given the state a high per capita income and it has in fact been one of the reasons for the youth remaining either unqualified or drop outs awaiting their turn for remunerative employment overseas or abroad.
There is no denying the fact that the Indian society is subject to social stratification in matters of employment and education. Goa has not been an exception and is slowly but surely joining the mainstream. It is easier for the youth to seek remunerative employment prospects abroad but difficult in Goa, and even if available the remuneration is not self sustaining, the availability out match the demand.
There is no recreational and sports policy and if there is one it undergoes change with successive governments in power.
What the Government needs to do:
1) Classify youth into two categories (smart cards would be useful)
Those with formal education beyond VII aspiring for employment in organized sector.
Those with below VII education and dropouts who cannot qualify for employment in unorganized sector or depend on traditional employment or vocation.
2) Ascertain the manpower requirement in
a) government or autonomous bodies
b) the private sector
c) agriculture and allied sector.
The statutory posts can only be ascertained well in advance while the non statutory posts can be gauged on production or service requirements.
It is known that every enactment has necessarily a financial liability of an independent or dependent manpower requirement. Even the private sector industry or services will have to stipulate the manpower requirements before setting up the industry and also in the agriculture sector.
Once this is done there should be in the formal education courses which are relevant to the trade that industry would require as manpower.
In the non formal education field there is a need to create a cluster of trained youth for vocations, traditional occupations at the taluka levels so that these will in turn train others. The government could provide the stipend.
The final objective is that the government with its agencies and NGOs should have continuous interactive and up-gradation of technology and methods in order to make the youth receptive to finding some vocation to harness their potential and energy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and therefore the government should ensure that there are enough sports , games and other locally adaptable games that the youth can participate in. Promoting competition can only further this cause.
It is true that government alone cannot provide all these given the resource constraints for each fiscal year but it can easily act as facilitator by involving public agencies, NGOs etc.
On our part we are always willing to share our knowledge and support any agenda fixed by government in this regard.