Goa babus have colonial mindset: Revenue Minister

Goa Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte

Goa’s government servants suffer from the ‘susegado’ syndrome and are still beset with an unfriendly colonial mindset, Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte has said in an official note to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, with a request to weed out deadwood in state’s bureaucracy. 

Khaunte’s gripe, however, has not been taken too kindly by the Goa Government Employees Association, whose president Prashant Devidas has said that such sweeping statements further demoralise the state government’s 60,000-odd strong workforce. 

In his note to Sawant earlier this week, Khaunte, whose revenue ministry oversees the state administration, revenue-related offices, also underlined the need for streamlining of the government workforce. 

“Administration of government departments and autonomous bodies require constant streamlining and push from the top. There is a tendency of 'susegadness' in the government employees. This severely hampers the image of government. This is because many employees quite often behave in colonial mindset since they do not see the job as an opportunity to serve the people,” Khaunte said in his note to Sawant. 

Susegado, also spelled as sucegado, an Indo-Portuguese word, qualifies for a range of sentiments in Goa, which range from contentedness to relaxed to being laid-back. Khaunte claims, the susegado attitude is costing the people of Goa quality service otherwise expected from government servants. 

Khaunte also urged Sawant to conduct skill upgradation, in addition to sacking incompetent government servants. 

“The efficiency of the existing personnel can be increased through the training, skill upgradation, field exposure, etc and rottenness needs to be disposed of through a mechanism to be built by weeding those who are deadwood,” the Minister said. 

Reacting to the Minister’s charge, president of the Goa Government Employees Association, Prashant Devidas said that such blanket criticism was unwarranted and had a demoralising impact on government’s workforce.

“It is demoralising, when minister makes comments like this. The Minister should have at least reached out to us before making sweeping statements like this, so that we could have given our side of the story,” Devidas told DH on Tuesday.  

Devidas also said, that nearly 95% of the government workforce was diligent, but added that a few bad apples tend to damage the general reputation of Goa’s government servants. 

He also said that efforts need to be made by government servants to speak politely to people when they seek assistance in government-related chores.

“The government should look at appointing special committees appointed to keep vigilance on government servants and power to punish those officials who err in their jobs or are slack,” Devidas said. 

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