Sunday, January 20, 2008

Out of Nowhere

Recently a rumour is floating around the air in Raisina Road and its surroundings. This goes as the Government of India plans to increase the age of superannuation of its employees to 62 years.

1996 onwards, the Govt. takes up the policy of austerity, in which the job in the Govt. and in public sectors were pruned. The services were reviewed incessantly, and many posts were curtailed, in accordance with the policy of the Govt. The then Finance Minister and the present incumbent Mr. P. Chidambaram was one of the architects of this new theory. The Media whole-heartedly supported him for reducing the job in the Govt. sector. In reality, the job of the poor peons, clerks, assistants were trimmed. New recruitments in these posts became negligible. Over the years, the lower-middle-class people of the urban society suddenly lost their hereditary occupation and silent tears welled up from their eyes. No one was there to console them, because they were not vote banks in the eyes of any political parties. As of now, senior officials are not touched. In few years time, the number of IAS officers would be more than clerks and peons added together. The money spent on IAS officers are manifolds and thoroughly extravagant in relation to the output they contribute. Is the Finance Minister or the Govt of India really thinks about austerity? Or are they all eyewash, only to cash in on the huge fund and apportion it generously amongst the higher echelon of the society, at the cost of lower middle class people of the urban society? Or they are interested in bullying petty clerks and peons, and made secretive plans to throw them away from the Ministerial corridors, as the slogan went before the Emergency in 1975, "Garibi Hatao", only to bury the garibs.

If the rumour has authenticity, what is the moot purpose of the Govt. in increasing the age of retirement? Earlier, when the Govt. had increased the age of retirement to 60 years, it was presumed that by virtue of delaying retirement, the then Govt. had manoeuvred to save a good amount of money by delaying pensionary benefits to the immediate retirees. But why now? The Govt. coffer is full to the brim and there is no way the Govt. cannot pay their dues on time. Then, can we cook up that the Govt. plans to appease the whole babudom, who had indeed voted them in the last election, in order to pacify their irate feelings towards the policy of the current Govt. just before the imminent general election?


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