Sunday, May 9, 2021

Poor work culture

It is a fact that shirking work, postponing taking of decisions even of ordinary nature, delaying tactics of disposing of matters, sitting over files, passing on files from one table to the other and the like constitute red-tape in its brazen manner. Delays thus caused, are often going unaccounted for, as it is presumed that there was nothing weird or unusual about the reasons leading to such delays even of inordinate nature. Such a practice, very often, breeds corruption and making no bones about the stark fact, it be verily said that massive corruption has made inroads into the system in our state. Can this vicious cycle be ever broken and can the administration at the top, show the requisite audacity to pluck the rut with intent to smoothen the system and ensure speedy disposal of files in the state Civil Secretariat and field offices? Without a doubt there is a need today to bring in drastic changes in the working style of government offices across the state to bring the required changes and thereby enforce accountability in the system. The hegemony and the established culture of delays, often wilful, has to be broken to bring in respect and regard for time factor and to have the writ of transparency and quick results have the upper sway. If we see how the time factor is being given top most priority in top public sector undertakings, especially where products and services both are offered, timeframe is fixed, not in days but in minutes excepting those which require to pass through certain mandatory levels of pruning and appraising. Why cannot that culture be incorporated in our offices? It is time those at the helm take cognizance of this issue and issue instructions stressing upon timelines and limiting the levels through which the files are to move which have been duly defined. From time to time, we have seen government issuing circular on timely attendance in office, even to the extent of warning to enforce ‘no work, no pay’, but such warning has had no affect on the employees mainly because there was no follow up action. It has become the norm for the government to issue instructions just for the sake of issuing, without enforcing it in letter and spirit. Indeed we have over the years seen instructions being issued and again fresh instructions issued after some time without ensuring the level of compliance. Such practices render the process of issuing circulars and instructions infructuous or unfruitful. We have also seen in instructions issued earlier the inseparable clause that ‘violation of instructions would be viewed seriously’, but such clause do not carry any weight and meaning in real sense to the employees as no prompt and strict action are taken in established instances of wilful non compliance. The point is that inordinate delay in offices deflates all the intended advantages accruable to general public in respect of various decisions and directives aimed at public welfare. That may seem not that important in isolated cases but cumulatively, such a scenario wreaks havoc and results not only in the failure of schemes and prompt decisions taken by the top administration but alienates the public from the system leading to corruption and inefficiency. The government, as the ruling dispensation claims, is doing so much for the people as promised in their manifesto to ‘bring change’, but sadly on transparency and accountability in the functioning of government departments, much needs to be done. Perhaps one way to ensure attendance in office is by conducting surprise inspection of offices at the opening time and office closing time, as well as during daytime in some office to at least ensure presence of employees in office. Such exercise is needed including in far flung villages where the state of affairs is pitiable. Once the culture of attending office right in time and leaving after time and observing breaks strictly as prescribed, there will be marked improvement in work culture of the employees. Simultaneously, removing the ‘dead wood’ and penalising non-performance and showing the door to the corrupt alone can bring the desired paradigm shift in the current system, which if termed as stinking would not be an over statement.