Why do we always blame the system?
UNDER AN UNRULY CANOPY
WHENEVER THERE IS A PROBLEM, WE HAVE AN OPTION NEXT DOOR TO SHIFT THE BLAME ON, DR. NAZIR A. BHAT COMMENTS ON THE PUBLIC BEHAVIOUR IN VIEW OF THE RECENT STRIKE BY STATE EMPLOYEES
Every morning, when I struggle to pull out my car from the heavy traffic jam, I blame the system- be it the traffic police, PWD or the agencies which fail to check encroachments on roads. When the transformer in my street goes down with a bang, the old lady next door curses the power department. When youth turn immoral, elders ignore their apathy towards moral education and blame the media and when everything goes out of order; we have a neighbour to put the blame on.
Yes, I agree that our system is faulty, rather plagued with all known diseases. But who and what is the system? Did anybody from some other part of the galaxy land in a spaceship one day and form our system? Certainly not!! It’s you, me, the old lady next door, the power department, the media, the government and everybody else who make up this system-our system. And the diseases therein lie within us. We are the ones who cause our system to rot and we are the ones who have to bear the off-smells that come out of it. Recent strikes of government employees present best example of system rot. We constitute the workforce that went on strike and we were the hostages in that strike. We are the doctors on strike and nurses and we are the patients whose lives are at stake. We are the teachers away from jobs and we are the parents whose children don’t get to go to school for even 150 days a year.
Not at all, I am against the right of employees to form unions and press their genuine demands. (We as a people are more often concerned for our rights and less so for our duties). It is my observation that employees who are less interested in their duties become usually the office bearers of the employees’ unions. They develop a lust for power and begin to equate themselves with politicians or their bosses, usually keep themselves up-dated with the weaknesses of their bosses and in a very shrewd manner articulate this knowledge for their interests. Consequently, an air of their dominance blows in the employee fraternity. This factor is often misused and leads to their unwarranted interference in administrative matters such as, transfers of employees etc. and personal benefits such as being away from duty without any leave under the disguise of serving the employee community. Sometimes all these designs do not work smoothly and to demonstrate their say and retain loyalty of followers (common employees- fund contributors) union leaders have to announce their own programme- a programme of strikes, of hartals or that of the miseries of common people. Bechara subject employee would have not listened to their calls but he is helpless. He can not manage his transfer without the aashirwad of his union representative. Babu and DDO will not sanction his GPF without approval of his unofficial bosses (union man). But then again our system is crippled from every end. Why at all should be the Naz Nekhre of union leaders be tolerated? Who gives them the room for their dominance over poor employees? Answer is that the politicians and political parties tame different groups and unions of employees for their political benefits. The same groups later prove troublesome for them as well as for the system. So much so that these unions almost try to run a parallel government; intervene in every decision of the government and department to show their strength. The transfer policy which is designed for smooth functioning of the departments is severely affected by these union activists. The government that believes in transparency should strictly watch over the employees’ attendance in their offices (during normal days), especially of the union leaders who do not consider their regular office jobs even a remote part of their curriculum. Unions should also be made accountable for the funds they collect. The money raised and spent should be subject to frequent audits. This needs the unions to be registered by the government and only registered unions be allowed to exist.
As far as the recent employees’ strike is concerned, a large proportion of employees did not want to be in the strike but due to the dominance of union members were forced to be a part of it. Now government has issued orders to deduct the salary of poor employees for hartal days. This may not be fair for those who were in a way forced to be on strike by ones who stand projected as ‘nears and dears’ of big people (government/ politicians / bureaucracy). Government shall own the responsibility of their mistake and deduct the salary of their ‘nears and dears’ (union members) only and not that of the poor employees.
I am not averse to the genuine demands of the employees but these shall go together with our introspection. When we put forward a demand, its implications in present and future should also be looked upon. Let us analyse the rationale of some of the employees (leaders’) demands. Increasing the retirement age by two years can lead to worsening of the already poor job scenario. What about the educated, jobless and often frustrated youth who have nowhere to go?? In this connection, if government fixes up a single day (say, the last day of the year) as the retirement day for all the people who have attained retirement age in that year, it will have multiple benefits. The number of posts that will get vacant on that particular day in a given year can be known well in advance, and new recruitments can be made well in time. This will save the post for the want of a holder for a long time and will also reduce the effort and expenditure on conducting multiple interviews and other recruitment formalities.
Coming to the pay arrears, we all know that a major portion of the government expenditure goes towards payment of salary and pension bills. The dearth of money is not just pretence. We have not been denied the arrears. Let us give government some time to generate the funds. To press for such a demand which involves financial implication beyond the capacity of government makes me to remind you of a kashmiri proverb, “maji ne lachke , chandtuss sehtaruss gilafe’. But once again, government can not shy away from its responsibility. If our state can not afford to pay its employees their genuinely deserved money, how can it afford the luxuries of the royalty? Why does the bureaucracy of a poor state need to live like the courtiers of a rich empire? Why does a new minister need crores of rupees for renovation of a bungalow? Why does a minister need a cavalcade of vehicles when he may do well with just a few. And why don’t we cut down the number itself of the bureaucrats and ministers? This if done, can heavily benefit the exchequer. You can have one minister in place of two and single commissioner for different sister departments. You can afford to spare some of the white elephants but can’t make the society to starve for a school teacher or for a road coolie in whose absence the cavalcades of ministers can’t run smoothly on the pitted highways. And finally and most importantly we need people on the top who deserve to be on the top, not those who already have scandals of corruption, sex and what not, to their credit.
Another rational demand is the irrationality of the house rent allowance. By-the-way, are there any employees putting up at their head-quarters? You will see on the roads in the morning buses booked on monthly basis plying with employees from one corner to the other corner of the valley. Those who are posted outside cities (15% HRA zone) do so ill heartedly as their ‘sacrifice’ of serving in rural areas (5% HRA zone) is rewarded with a punishment of 10% salary cut. It is suggested that uniform HRA rates be given to employees serving in any part of the state to make posting in rural areas more lucrative. At the same time, frequent shuttling of employees from far off places should be discouraged and putting-up within a minimum suitable radius from headquarter be encouraged.
Last but not least, all employees shall introspect themselves and feel concerned about the development of their home state in a similar way they feel for their homes and also the government shall try to remove the lacunae in the system or else they should not expect healthy sub-systems to grow under an un-healthy canopy.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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