Sunday, October 2, 2022

Path to progress

When the Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that the government had the right to abolish any office or post and that the retrenched employees had no right to seek re-employment or adjustment in other departments, it put an end to the erroneous belief that the government is duty bound to employ people. It may be added, that any employee is appointed on the principle of being in that position in public interest. This means that an employee is only paid for services rendered and therefore, the government may decide when the services are no longer required. Generally, the employees think that they represent the masses and therefore their interest is in the interest of the people. In the era of economic liberalization when a lot of emphasis is on downsizing the administration, the judgment of the Supreme Court is far-reaching significance. The government exists to serve the people and doing so means taking into consideration the larger interest of the public. The government is the main job giver in Nagaland in the absence of any major industry or trade activities. The investments in furthering education appears to have been in vain. Education has become like an entitlement and unfortunately a one-way street where the individual interest is uppermost. Due to this wrong sense of entitlement, frustration has grown because more and more youth coming out with useless degrees, are not finding jobs. The growing frustration is not only burden but also potential problem for society .Only of late has there been realization that an educated person should not be a job seeker but a job giver. In essence, the size of the government should not be confused with the large revenue income through various taxation programmes. It is meaningless if all money earned was again spent for non-profitable programmes. A classic example of big government and big spending are the states in the north east which tend to believe they bring development to the region or in political parlance, “grass root”. The flawed concept of welfare states cannot be a justification for retarding economic growth.Most states particularly the north east, function like welfare states. In Nagaland, with a the population of around 21,89,297(2021), the number of employees rose significantly over the years. For example in 2008-10 there were 1,10,000 government employees . It rose to 1,25,000 by 2010-11, then to 1,30,000 by 2012-13. According to unofficial estimates, the figure may touch nearly ,1, 40,000 if the ‘unaccounted’ employees are taken into consideration. Nagaland spends around 65% of its annual budget on salaries and upkeep of the government. In comparison, Assam has 4,30,000 state government employees (population of 3,45,86,234); Manipur has 80,000 employees (population-35,01,897); Sikkim has 73,411(population-6,62,810); Arunachal Pradesh has 66,000 (population-17,48,873 ); Meghalaya has 80,000 (population-38,64,569 ); Mizoram has 49,624 (population-13,31,921). The government today has become too big and expensive to maintain. Resources that could be used for creating infrastructures are used up for maintenance of government system and its assets.In a world where the onus is on efficiency and productivity, there should be no confusion about what needs to be done to achieve the targets. The practice of too much government goes directly against the grain of economic progress on which the much-hyped skill development or skilling India concept is drawn. It is time that governments become smaller to enable private enterprises become bigger in order to usher over –all economic development.