Double Jeopardy

The decision of the Nagaland Government to declare all the Saturdays of the months as Regular Holidays with effect from January 1, 2006 will no doubt bring cheer to the government employees. But how much it will impact on the productivity or otherwise of the work output remains to be seen. Nonetheless what the government has given with one hand to its employees, it has likewise taken away with the other by demanding more sincerity from the latter by calling for strict enforcement of the concept of ‘No Work No Pay’. At the end of the day, it is a win-win situation for both with the employees getting a breather in terms of an extra off-day from office. However they would have to fulfill the other part of the bargain and work sincerely for the rest of the five days. This requires strict compliance with the schedule of working hours; summer timings being 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and in winter it would be 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The measure of success of the above arrangement will depend largely on the government’s own sincerity in properly enforcing this novel idea.  

This latest decision of the state government comes in the wake of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s hard hitting speech delivered during the general conference of the Nagaland Civil Service Association held a few days ago in Kohima. That the Chief Minister as head of the government was himself implicating the officers of gross neglect in their duties only goes to show the seriousness on the complete deterioration of work ethics among the public servants. Being a politician, Rio’s honesty therefore comes as a rare breath of fresh air and goes to show that he has the right approach in mind as far as improving the level—both quality and quantity—of governance in the state is concerned. But the big challenge for Rio would be on how far he can implement them.  

Another bit of information that is equally worrisome is the assessment of the Chief Minister: out of the state‘s annual budget of around Rs. 2000 crore, an astonishing 60 percent goes to government servants by way of salaries, pensions and other facilities in Nagaland. The amount that goes to the public in the form of development expenditures is only around 22 per cent of the budget. Taking these figures into consideration if we are to calculate the amount of resources being shared among the general populace, there is a huge imbalance in favour of government employees. Even whatever little amount is left for public spending are likely to be siphoned off by government servants and public leaders according to Rio’s own admittance. 

Both the loss of work ethics and moral values is seriously putting the socio-economic development of the State in a double jeopardy and unless government employees are more sincere and less corrupt any hope for a secure, prosperous and just society will remain a mirage as far as the majority of people are concerned. Both this phenomenon of deteriorating work ethics and moral values should be a cause for serious concern and needs immediate attention of all concerned including the churches, civil society groups and the political leadership in the State.