BOTTOM LINE: The semantic disaster fund

BOTTOM LINE: The semantic disaster fund

Dimapur, March 13: A few years ago someone in Nagaland Government came up with an altruistic idea of a welfare fund in wake of a natural calamity.
On Monday, that idea now called “Chief Secretary’s Welfare Fund” turned into a semantic disaster. The Government announced that it will enforce a “voluntary” deduction of a day’s salary of Government employees.
“I am directed to inform that the government has decided that 1 (one) day salary of all government employees will be deducted voluntarily as contribution towards the Chief Secretary’s Welfare Fund,” additional deputy commissioner in Nagaland Commissioner’s office, C. Khanyang Imlong wrote to all DCs and ADCs.
Some Fovernment employees asked their more learned colleagues with qualifications in English literature to elucidate the phrase “will be deducted voluntarily”. Sources said the learned ones were dumbfounded.
“This is like military commander passing an order to get volunteers,” said a senior official in the State Government. “Most departments had contributed to the fund but not all (and hence, the order),” the officer added.
The Government has also “requested” DCs and ADCs that the “salary be deducted and be submitted” to the Commissioner’s office on or before April 15. The confusion with the lexicon does not end here.
“It is further informed that this deduction is voluntary and any employee not willing to contribute should inform accordingly in writing. In the absence of any written objection it is to be presumed that all employees are willing to contribute,” says the order. Government employees wondered if it would have been better to simply ask those who were volunteering to inform about the deduction.
One may have heard of the PM’s or CM’s relief funds but chief secretary’s welfare fund is not only unheard of but also fuzzy.
Government sources said that the fund already existed but was christened only recently. Last year, some fund was utilized to organise AIDS control programmes and some other small events. Sources said that the fund had close to Rs 1 crore till last year.
The welfare fund concept is rare to stem out of bureaucracies. Usually a fund’s corpus is provided either by the chief secretary or from the state government treasury. Sources said that since state treasury itself is financially challenged due to factors unknown, government servants may have to contribute.
(Page News Service)