With the imposition of Governor's rule the legislature, as is the norm, has been put in suspended animation but in case of government employees it has been quite the opposite. The state of inanimation that is normally associated with a government job has been suspended as the government officials have been asked to be punctual in their duties and strictly adhere to office timings which will be monitored as well! This cataclysmic change – cataclysmic because it is against the traditional ethos of a government job – has been viewed with concern not only by the employees themselves but also by several experts who have outlined the deleterious effects of shaking government officials out of their inertia. A few of the concerns expressed by various experts are listed below:-
1. Increase in Traffic jams: During 'normal' times the time at which employees report at their workplaces falls into a pretty flexible range. Ditto about the time they leave their workplaces. Now with strict orders regarding punctuality every employee will be on their way to their offices or homes at the same time in the mornings and the evenings which will mean more transport and vehicles on the roads. This will mean that we are going to see the worst ever traffic jams in the coming days! A corollary of this will be an increase in incidents of road rage as people and their vehicles jostle each other while hurrying to reach their offices on time and then hurrying towards their homes in the evening. The police as well as hospitals will have to be on high alert to manage the consequences!
2. Global warming: It is an accepted fact that during normal times most of the employees attend their duties intermittently and there are countless among them who after working out suitable arrangements with their bosses stay away for comfortable periods which may last months or even years. Now when all the employees start attending to their duties and that too on time, the increased transport on the roads will contribute further to global warming and before we know it we might have an environmental disaster on our hands.
3. Increased burden on government expenditure: When all the employees report for their duties the existing furniture in offices will definitely fall short of requirements. Moreover with offices being flooded by employees those offices which are putting up in rented spaces will have to rent more space. This coupled with the need to buy more furniture as well as other amenities entailed by the steep increase in attendance will put additional burden on the already overburdened state expenditure.
4. Increase in litigation: As we are all aware there are some government departments which just exist as part of munificence of the government, the sole purpose of these departments being to provide means of sustenance to their employees in the form of salaries. It is being said that an employee working in one such department previously used to attend his office on payday but after salaries started to be disbursed through banks even this monthly visit had stopped. Now once the circular about punctuality was out this employee decided to pay a visit to the department where he was 'working' but was shocked to find that the department had been relocated to some other place a couple of years back. It reportedly took him three days to locate the new offices of this department. Naturally the indignant employee decided to file a lawsuit against the administration for not keeping him informed about the relocation of his office. It is conceivable that the courts will see much of similar litigation in coming times.
5. Fall in GDP: With the 'flexibility' provided by most government jobs a considerable number of government employees have started part time businesses over the period of time. Many of these entrepreneurial ventures have scaled heights of success with the result that rather than the businesses remaining a part time activity it is the government jobs of these employees which have turned into a part time exercise. With strict directions that employees have to be not only regular in their duties but punctual as well these businesses will suffer greatly and might even face closure in some cases. This will cause a dip in the GDP of the state and will hammer ungainly dents in the economic prosperity of the state.
6. Fall in standards of education: Reportedly quite a few of government teachers posted in far flung areas would visit their places of posting only occasionally which was a convenient arrangement for all concerned. This arrangement allows the 'students' to go about their normal routine like working in their farms or orchards or carrying on other commercial activities. Thus the arrangement generates good will among all concerned and also engenders convivial spirits in the teachers which makes them magnanimous enough to 'pass' the 'students' at exam time even if the 'students' remain unaware of the mundane differences between say 'A' and 'Z'. The mission of education is furthered without affecting the commercial activities of the area. Moreover, the fact that the teachers have to tour their places of posting only occasionally they find ample time for private tuitions in their own areas. Thus education is doubly fostered with one teacher catering to two districts! With strictness in attendance such convenient arrangements and the resultant good will and convivial spirits are likely to collapse which will understandably be detrimental to education not to speak of local commerce. Then again many government employees happen to be parents as well; in such cases it is not unusual for the mother or the father or both to stay away from duties for long periods of time so that they can help their children negotiate the serpentine tracks of the learning process. The strictness with regards to duties will deal a blow to such activities which will again cause a dip in the standards of education.
As is quite evident from the expert opinions outlined above the fallout of suspending inanimation in case of government employees will have far reaching consequences. One can only hope that the authorities realise the dangers of such a strategy and restore the 'flexibility' which is one of the perks that goes with a government job!
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