Wednesday, September 22, 2021

No funds for development

We have a situation where the Government is the largest employing agency in the State. As per reports, the ratio of Government servants to population in Nagaland is 1:15, which means we have one Government servant for every 15 people. It means the largest numbers of employed persons who draw salary are on the payroll of the Government. No wonder, the Government is unable to allocate sufficient funds for developmental activities in the State. Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, who also holds the finance portfolio, while presenting a deficit Budget 2018-19 on Monday said due to implementation of 7 RoP for State Government employees, the resources available for development could not improve much. He said the Government managed to provide only Rs 609 crores for developmental activities during 2019-20. The finance minister said the percentage of non-development and salary had increased as the State Government agreed to implement the new RoP 2017 in line with the 7th Pay Commission of the Central Government by giving notional fixation from June 2017 and actual cash payment from the pay of January 2018, to be impounded to the GPF accounts of the employees. As a result, he said, a total amount of Rs 1100.75 crores was being spent, including for both serving employees (Rs 854.94 crore) and pensioners (Rs 245.81 crore). But why is the Government the biggest employers in the State? We see that in developed countries/states it is the private sector that employs the largest number of workers. Unfortunately the private sector is not developed in the State and industries and factories have not grown in numbers and size to make space for youth employment. Obviously, there is great pressure on the Government to provide employment to the youth especially the educated youth. As a welfare state, the youth have the right to ask for work and employment. There can be only two solutions to the problem. Private sector should develop phenomenally in the state so that large number of vacancies in skilled and unskilled trades are created and filled. The important pre-requisite for promoting private sector employment is that the workforce should have proficiency and skills to find place where these can be utilized. A skilled person has far more chances of getting absorbed in some concern or organization in comparison to unskilled labourers. The reason why our State could not develop industries and private sector to the extent that it would reduce the burden of providing employment to the youth is a serious and rather awkward debate, and which we have no intention to rake up. There are number factors like, geography, topography, history, climatic conditions, etc. that come up for discussion in this regard. It is also a fact that most of the State employees are not engaged in productive works. And why would they be engaged in productive works when their very entry into the service was through illegal means. Indeed, unprincipled politics and willingness on the part of the actors to violate rules has resulted in much illegal and backdoor employment in various Government departments, and who makes up a major junk of the unproductive workers/employees. We know that a plethora of rules and regulations govern the subject of employment in Government service. There are constitutional bodies that manage recruitment to various vacancies in Government departments. The rules of recruitment, right from the time of notifying a vacancy to the stage of filling it up, are clear and unambiguous. There is nothing wrong in the rules and regulations prescribed for recruitment. If there is anything hindering the process, it is the lengthy and very complicated procedure of recruitment. It takes time to fill the notified vacancies. Neither the youth have time to go on waiting indefinitely nor do the departments wait to fill the vacancies in accordance with the law. A situation arises in which both sides are short of time and patience. This creates very congenial atmosphere for backdoor and illegal entry into Government service. In addition, when the political influence is there and the willingness of the bureaucracy to compromise on the issue, illegal and backdoor appointments take place. Perhaps it is time the Government seriously think of bringing reforms in the process of recruitment, as well as curtail the role of politicos in bringing pressure on Government functionaries.