The Goa government has decided to work on a policy to help local residents secure permanent jobs in industries, by forcing firms in the state to reserve a percentage of job opportunities for Goans.
To a question from Opposition leaders, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said his government was aware of the lack of employment opportunities for local residents and industries allocating work to outsiders through contractors.
Opposition Leader Digambar Kamat spoke of “busloads of outsiders” coming every day to Margao to work in factories and industries in Goa. He said Goans suffered as contractors supplied permanent and temporary jobs to outsiders. “Please understand these people stay in south Goa and travel to work. The question is not just of labour… for daily wages, but permanent workers who get good pay and stay in Goa,” Kamat said.
Sawant spoke of the need for a registry to ensure that all industries list the details of workers. He said this “will also help to understand the category of labour and the need of each industry. It will also help us in the government to gauge which sectors need what labour at different times…”
Sawant said industries avail subsidies for water, power and functioning of units. “We need to see if there is a policy we can bring which puts riders on these subsidies only if a certain number of locals have jobs in their units. This needs a discussion with everyone…” he said.
The discussion has repeatedly come up in the Assembly with Sawant earlier saying that such a quota for local residents would be run down by courts.
BJP MLA Alina Saldanha suggested that each industry should coordinate with the ministry related to their sector and update about labour requirements. She said it should be made compulsory for all the industries and factories to advertise their jobs for all wage groups in the local language in the print media to ensure that Goans are aware of the opportunities.
Other MLAs asked if the policy could look into the manner in which contractors get labour from outside the state and the wages they negotiate.
To a query by Congress MLA Alex Reginaldo, Labour minister Jenifer Monserratte said central laws do not allow the state government to maintain data on migrant labour and the kind of jobs taken up by them. “However, we have started to collect this data since February 2019.”
Seeking time to respond to all queries, Sawant said the larger issue is “even if you reserve a percentage of jobs, the truth is there is no regulatory mechanism to check if it’s followed. We will need time to address this and bring policy changes.”