TODAY -

The untold story, lest it be forgotten

SK Singh *



We humans in general spend time for the usual learning process, the formal education, a process of learning to be able to enter into a profession. Usually it takes varying length of years depending on the discipline one chooses and competence of the person.

For general courses, one acquires a degree as he or she completes the age of, say, 22 to 25 years. It may vary though. For professional courses, even for academics, it takes more as one completes a full course.

As one enters a service, say in the government to make matters straight, after possessing a degree, serving till he or she retires, one on the average works for around 30 to 35 years, or a little more in extreme cases.

This is indeed a long span of time, quite long a period of time. Successful people contribute a lot to the organization he or she works during this three and a half decades of continuous service. The moot question is however; could he or she contribute something of value, something unique to the society at large?

When we leave service, after 30 or 35 years of work in the government, could we leave something behind, something novel, something ideal for the posterity to emulate? Yes many did; but some, a few could contribute, something more valuable, something lasting for the society.

We so-called bureaucrats, because of our proximity to echelons of power and authority stand more opportune for accomplishing something uniquely beneficial to the society provided he or she is determined and of course, jealous.

Without prejudice to particular section of people or community, by and large, we are often tempted to excel in this endeavor, irrespective of caste or creed. An important human factor, however, can we call it, a sense of belongingness, a certain element of possession, often plays a critical role in this whole effort, the entire aspiration.

For that is the sole critical input that ultimately decides the degree of participation, degree of acting, of going full steam within ones jurisdiction. Why within only, a select few may proceed beyond his prescribed jurisdiction in his zeal to achieve.

In my service period of nearly 37 years in the government including my two years’ stint in teaching, I often faced challenges in many ways. Cooperation or support from the political bosses is one critical input.

Experience in the district Collectorate was one uniquely exciting. Among many reasons, one principal factor was its independence, independence from directions or worse, intrusions from various branches of government. Even the CM had not much to interfere, let alone other Ministers.

Of course, the Ministers or the MLAs of the district had usually some interest. But these did not stand in the way the DC handled his works. The DC could function near independently and one can contribute substantially in the development effort of the district.

In the Directorates, or even the secretariat, the atmosphere is nearly opposite; there were instances aplenty where the HOD faced rough ways to go along, sometimes difficult to handle. The interference is more in few cases and the HOD had occasions to seek intervention of the CS, sometimes seeking shifting to some other departments.

This was near routine. In the midst of these unsavory atmospheres, officers however competent, found it hard to excel.

There were rosy days too for such section of officers. I for one had to meet the CS on two occasions seeking transfer to some other department. I found however very pleasing days in Education Department those years during Jan 1995 to Sep, 1996 nearly one and half years. This department was however not in my choice-area, at all.

In fact I ran from pillar to post to ensure that my name was not in the select-list for the post of Secretary (Education), those early days in Jan, 1995. However, there was no way, order of my transfer as Secretary of the Department was issued on 6 Jan and as ill luck would have it, I had to work late night that very day, in the CM’s office in taming the agitation by MUSU in the Manipur University.

What a wretched day for an officer to start work to begin with? That was my outset, my journey in this Education Department.

In the run-up to governance, very senior officers on deputation to the state government were a class by itself. To be specific, officers holding revered position of CS on deputation from other cadres have a unique work culture. Their primary focus in the governance could be, as I see, was maintaining a balance in financial administration.

They were keen to avoid any kind of developmental work, however important, only to ensure that the state’s financial position was stable. They worked with great concern to avoiding any form of ‘financial crises’, even at the cost of very critical interventions by the government in development works.

This modality had to speak volumes on developmental activities, even in important areas. One factor could be their indifference to traces of development it these programs were to burden the state’s exchequer.


( To be continued ...).


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 28 2022.



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