Enforce Work Culture


The Manipur government is estimated to have a work force of about 80,000 employees. If the government was run as an efficient private enterprise, with strict adherence to costs balancing benefits, it is also estimated that the work load on these 80,000 employees could have been optimally handled by 30,000 or so. For that matter, in the past we have seen how the responsibilities of the entire team of ministers and MLAs were easily shouldered by an executive body as small as three during spells of Presidents Rules, of which the State saw many and far too frequently until the introduction of the Anti-Defection Law. Ironically, in terms of physical presence in office, the government may be doing with only 30,000 employees actually working as they are expected to and paid for, at any given time. The absenteeism, late arrivals, early departures, unscheduled lunch breaks, numerous unwarranted tea breaks etc., in government offices, are testimony. `I saw him around a while ago,` is today a standard answer at any government office, when someone go looking for a staff for some work. In the districts and sub-divisional headquarters, especially in the hills, this would be much worse. As a recent report after a media tour of Tousem sub-division in the Tamenglong district indicated, absenteeism here could be as high as 90 percent. In these places, governance is becoming a receding memory, and it is unbelievable to read in this age that simple illnesses as dysentery and viral fever can still be life threatening. Few or no government offices are manned, all government facilities, including health infrastructures, are in advance states of decay, government schools have only ghost teachers, and as a result without students as well. The list can go on. A good percentage of the 80,000 work force constitute of these ghost employees, listed in the payrolls, but perpetually missing from their places of work. Yet few do enough to bring about a change precisely because everybody has come to have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the limbo of non-governance.

For the government, there can be no excuse. It has no choice but to extend its administration to all parts of its territory without fail. If its employees are refusing to obey its transfer and posting orders, there cannot be a more shameful indication of the government`™s irrelevance. The government must also however listen to the sincere amongst its employees on what their problems are. Many of the complaints we have heard have to do with the lack of basic amenities, to the extent of water and food supplies running out at some of these outlying posts. At least these basics must be ensured to expect cooperation from employees. Not all outposts are as bad though, and so it calls for the government to identify the genuine from the fraudulent complaints to take up appropriate and justifiable action to rectify the situation, without fail. There is yet another angle to the story. In inculcating work atmosphere, the responsibility is not just that of the employees or the government. A good part of it must also rest on the local population. They must make employees from other parts of the State posted amidst them feel at home and want to stay. Perhaps another way the government can make its job easier is by suitably changing its recruitment rules. It could for instance grade the difficulty of its outposts, and make it compulsory for all employees to accumulate a certain number of points on the difficulty scale before he or she can qualify to opt for a posting of choice. Of course, it goes without saying that the government must first ensure that `difficulty` does not mean braving starvation death and physical harm. In this regard, it must be said the government`™s stated move of making it mandatory for specialist doctors to serve a stipulated tenure in hill districts, is laudable. This administrative logic must be extended to other government departments too.


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