Journal of events in my life

Journal of events in my life

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Do all Government employees deserve a pay hike?

The sixth pay commission has recommended whopping hikes in salaries for Government employees. It is good that they are going to have higher income and more money for their expenses or savings. All is fine except the argument that the salaries of the Government need to be increased to match the private sector employees' salaries. One very common argument we hear is: if a Software Professional can earn huge pay packet sitting in an Air-conditioned room, why not a Government employee get a big scale. I think it has to be kept in mind both are different scales. Donkeys cannot be compared to Horses. Government employment is different from Private sector employment in quite a few aspects.

I am sure, with all the extra incomes coming to Govt. employees, Govt. employment lovers will still go for the job even if salary is not paid to them.

Quite a few aspects should be borne in mind before recommending / considering salary hikes for Govt. employees, like.

  • The extra income they receive on account of corruption. This income is multifold times their actual salary (and it is tax free/ black money). There are various research and media reports ranking the most corrupt departments. There is nothing wrong in considering this while fixing the salary, when the entire world is aware of the truth. Does this amount to legalizing corruption?. Is there a way to stop it?. When not, why is the need to ignore the fact.
  • Absolute job security in Govt. as against hire and fire in Pvt. Sector.
  • Fixed time (typical 9 to 5 job) in Govt., whereas in most Pvt. Sector job, particularly IT, employees hardly find time to sleep.
  • The volume of task handled in Govt. services, the quality of service offered by most of the Govt.dept, the responsibility handled, to name a few.

Employees in departments like RTO, Excise and Sales Tax, Registrars should never be paid salary. They earn huge amount otherwise. High salaries should be paid to Defense personnel, particularly those fighting terrorism and guarding our boarders.

The Indian Govt. is spending lot of money on nonsense aspects like Loan Waiver, Free TVs, Free Lands, Increase in Govt Salaries, at the cost of people who earns money the hard way and pay their tax. Wake up India!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rs.60,000 Crore Farm loan waiver – Is it a long term solution?.

The sixty thousand crore rupees of farm loan waiver scheme announced by the finance minister in the Budget 2008 is currently one of the most discussed topic in India. How is this scheme going to really help the farmers? Is it going to help farmers tide over their financial problems completely and permanently?
The government boasts that this scheme will help reduce the farmer’s suicide. One interesting article in Economic times newspaper gave statistics that farmers suicide in Vidarbha are not because of farm loans, but because they are suffering from Syphilis and Gonorrhoea – both sexually transmitted disease.
The provision of the scheme is applicable to farm loans that were overdue as on 31st December’07 and not paid till 29th February’08. Farmers who were honest and made sincere attempts to replay their loans goes cheated. If waivers after waiver are given to farmers, will they ever consider repaying their loans? The politicians will have no choice but to come out with similar schemes before every election.
The same analysis also made a mention that banks are always under pressure to disburse loans to farmers who are close to politicians. The same will be the case for waiver as well. Soon we will see Bank officers committing suicide.
Instead of loan waivers, can’t the government invest this Rs.60,000 crores towards development of agriculture in the long term? It can spend this money on research and development of agriculture, modernization of cultivation methodologies, development of irrigation feasibilities by integration of rivers or by other feasible means, educating farmers on use fertilizers, crop rotation, etc etc, Interestingly I read news in Hindu that the State Agriculture Department created a record of producing more that 10 tonnes of paddy per hectare by adopting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as against the average production of 4-5 tonnes. Why is the government not taking initiatives to help farmers adopt similar system and help them improve their farm productivity in the long run, rather than waive loans and provide temporary relief and also cultivate an habit in farmers not to pay their loans, or for that matter encourage farmers to commit suicide for the purpose of availing farm loan waiver.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Can’t I be a considerate driver in India?

After my return from US, I was keen on following the basic disciplines of driving I learned in the US. I wanted to strictly ensure that I maintain a safe distance between two cars, maintain lane discipline, obey the traffic lights, yield to the driver who come first, and above all give priority to pedestrians. However my enthusiasm to be a good guy did not last longer than a week. The reasons are well known to Indian drivers.

Safe Distance: If you maintain safe distance, there will be 3 cars or 6 autos or 50 bikes occupying the ‘safe’ distance.

Lane Discipline: It is just not possible to stay in lane because the only space available for you to drive your vehicle will be between lanes. Slow moving vehicles occupy left, right, center lanes or union of these lanes. For instance there is a well laid three lane road between Madhya Kailas junction and Tidel Park. It would have been ideal if these lanes are marked separately for two wheelers, cars and heavy vehicles as it is done in Mount Road. Or at least lanes designated according to speed limits. But, that does not anyway give an assurance that the lane discipline will be followed.

Obey traffic lights: If you want to obey the traffic lights, you are sure to have a nightmare. I slowly pressed on my brakes on the turn of amber light and came to a halt. I was appreciated for my disciple only by a car that was behind me passing my car even after turn of red and almost slamming the side mirrors.

Yield to pedestrians: If you do this, you will only realize that India is one of the most populated country and they are every where on the roads. Your vehicle will not move an inch.

When Saint Vishwamitra could not continue his penance, I being an ordinary human, could neither stop myself from going back to my old style of Indian driving. Start late from home but try to reach office by time. Press the gas petal as hard as possible when the road is free (which you hardly get a chance). Do not leave any space between my car and the car ahead of me. When the traffic is heavy or even otherwise, try to squeeze in ‘Auto’s gap’ (cycle gap if I am on two wheeler). When I approach the traffic lights, if I notice the light turn from green to amber, lower the gear and hard press the pedal to rush pass the lights. No courtesy on the pedestrians when I have free way to go, no courtesy on slow moving vehicle; honk at them and force them to leave way or pass them with just few inch of gap. I am just going by the rule “Be an Indian when you are in India”.

What does this mean?. Can’t I be a considerate driver?. Do I stand to be a loser when I try to be a good driver?. Will this style of driving be the same howsoever India develops (rather grow)?.

Who is to be blamed?. Myself, other drivers, pedestrians, enforcement authorities?