The present state government (DAN) has done a commendable job in bringing development to 'unexpected' areas, especially remote areas of Nagaland. For instance, the Agri-Expo site would have already been encroached had it not been for the government. The construction of the Multi Sports Complex, new High Court building and many other Directorates' office buildings etc etc have made the people feel that a people-friendly government has finally been installed and despite a popular Congress government at the Centre, they have given mandate to DAN government to run for a second term.
However, many are seriously beginning to doubt now as to whether the DAN government is really a people-friendly government or not. The government of India gives a lot of privileges to its employees by making Pay Revision after every 10 years so as to enable them to adjust their salary along with price-rise and inflation besides leave encashment, leave travel concessions, honorarium and so on, which have been disallowed by the Nagaland government for its employees due to 'shortage of fund'. We are left to wonder which state in India has surplus budget! Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have given ROP in toto w.e.f January 2006. Do they have surplus budget?
Since 2006, an LDA under the state government has been getting lesser pay than a peon of the central government employee. In other words, a Class II Gazette officer under the state government is getting almost equal pay to that of a UDA under central government. It is saddening to recall that during the 1960's up to early 80s, Nagaland state employees' salary was among the highest in the country.
The government's assertion that it would be compelled to terminate the service of 36,000 government servants this year and 3000 each in the subsequent four years if the central government does not come to its rescue, is indeed alarming.
The largest circulated money in the state is the state government employees' salary and if the government in question is unable to pay its employees well, one begins to wonder whether the ruling government is actually people-friendly or a corruption-encouraging one. Many a state employee had been facing hardship since 2006 as prices of commodities have shot up with the 6th ROP. Circulation of money in the market has become very constricted since most of the 'money' are in the hands of some fortunate few. The salary of the lower/middle class and government servants are mostly being spent on private educational institutions which are mostly owned by VVIPs and the common man dare not question the abnormal rise in admission/monthly fees besides other numerous fees.
The 6th ROP committee of the state government had drawn up such figures encouraging huge benefits to the higher class employees and slashed the salaries of Grades II, III and IV with mere Rs.2000-4000 benefits only, without a grading system like the central ROP. The majority, lower grade employees are thus being discriminated in the state. A Peon under the state government will be getting a total salary of about Rs.8000-10,000, whereas the central counterpart enjoys about Rs.15,000-20,000, which makes one wonder what type of pay revision we have.
The statement that government employees have no right to ask for raise in salary calls for a reality check and a reminder that ours is a democratic country and not a communist or autocratic one.
Meanwhile, the state's senior government servants and the DAN government issue has become like a person giving a lollipop to a child and then promptly snatches it from the child's mouth. Many lower grade employees affected by the length of service are facing massive hardships. The common man is yet again left wondering what if some NGO's team up to demand length of service and superannuation for legislators as they are also public servants enjoying benefits and facilities at the cost of the state ex-chequer.
Isn't it the duty of the state political leaders to convince the central leaders and usher in separate money for the implementation of the 6th ROP to the state employees (from 2006) besides other money meant for development?
Puvilie Angami, Dimapur.