THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | ISSUE 28 | 2 MAR 2012
By Abu Arsh
Our Constitution empowers every citizen a right to lead a life maintaining human dignity and freedom of expression. People elect a government which is governed by the dictates of this supreme Constitution. Government makes policies that should translate into enabling equality for its citizens. Being a welfare state our government should be contributing towards wellbeing of all its subjects. The government over a period of time has been formulating policies and pumping massive amount of finances and resources in providing basic services to its subjects. The major impediment in implementation of these policies and services are the continuation of services of skilled local manpower needed to execute these.
For basic health care, education, food, women and child care, livelihood, connectivity and others, Government comes up with great programmes and even better guidelines. These guidelines have inputs from the best brains available in the country but are finally sharpened and polished by the bureaucrats. What these guidelines show are different layers of scapegoats at all levels and a bureaucrat at the top. This bureaucrat will prevail over technically or educationally competent skilled manpower without they themselves having any significant qualification other than possessing an IAS (I Am Safe) tag. Guidelines are pan Indian and strongly lack much understanding of local issues and conditions. Strangely enough Flagship programmes like Sarva Shiksha Abhyan, National Rural Health Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act likewise are all headed by District Collector at the District level who'll change every two years. A namesake council with the Administrator or the Chief Minister is formed at the top which meets as per the convenience of the bosses to go through statistics which are mere numbers. These numbers though are supposed to be great indicators of efficient deliverability of better service and welfare of the common man; it invariably falls short of any change at the ground for the masses.
Gross mismanagement from the top is always the end result. Lower level functionaries and mid rung officials are favourite punching bags of the Nodal officer or the District Collector when things surface about this mismanagement. There is no continuity or job guarantee for all these staff from mid rung to the lower level. Conversely, if a bureaucrat does not like a face, a tone, someone's dressing or non compliance to unwarranted overture - you stand to be fired. Any shortfall in the implementation of these programmes would automatically blame these goners as the Bureaucrat has layers upon layers of buffoons before he could be blamed. They are there on hire and fire basis. No court of law can be approached as you are a 'Contract employee'. These contract employees comes in with big dreams of making a difference to the society and their own lives but end up being a victim of atrocity and injustice. They waste good part of their lives and are one day told your time is up. A majority of them are no longer eligible to get into any other job by then. What this gives rise to is a section of overage skilled manpower who is neither considered poor to fall into safety net initiatives of the Government nor is accommodated into any other Government department despite good experience earned over the years serving them. These people turn into nervous wrecks that end up doing menial jobs at private firms at a pittance or become morally and socially corrupt to sustain themselves.
We have seen the fate of teachers, instructors and ayahs in education programmes, technical graduates and postgraduates under NRHM and MGNREGA, skilled workers under ICDS and other hoards of educated people as DRM's under various wings of the Administration. Outsourcing is killing jobs in every field. CSC's are great as missions for self patting their backs by the bureaucrats claiming to bring about laurels with giant strides in e-governance for the
Islands. In reality all these are trampling over the future of educated skilled job seekers. There is undoubtedly requirement of skilled manpower for all the basic programmes and services of the Administration. The job policy brought about by the Administration is more corporate culture turning the lives of the youth of today into a mess with its hire and fire policy. Contractual/ Part Time Workers become favourite tossing balls of the politicians who enjoy seeing these desperate fired souls running from pillar to post to get a reprieve or justice. Apart from assurances and mention in their manifestos during elections these people get nothing.