Mahinda’s manifesto admits that he knows that the masses consider the public sector to be more appealing than the private sector. The scary part is that he doesn’t consider this to be unhealthy. His idea of the differences in the public and private sector is a case in point that possibly outlines his economic savvy and political cunning.
If the majority of the masses like the public sector then the majority of the masses are freeloaders. Because that’s what most of the public sector is; a place for freeloaders. People go into work; read the marriage prospects page of the daily newspapers; refresh their knowledge on the prevailing caste system and norms of the marriage market; sign out an hour early and take the train back home. On the train they discuss politics and sing songs with similar people who work in other public sector divisions just like they have been doing with them for the past 15 years.
Also this phenomenon is bad for the job market. If youth grow up wanting a job in the public sector, they will hardly be equipped to handle the stress and competitive environment of the private sector. The more educationally inclined among them for instance, will feel more inclined to do a worthless degree and, once all teaching jobs are exhausted, to protest on the streets demanding economically unviable jobs in the public sector. So when Mahinda agrees to give these ‘poor helpless youth’ jobs in the public sector, he is essentially spending the hard earned money of the people who really put in a hard days of work to make more freeloading jobs. Thats justice, that is.
Somewhere in a corner of his Chinthanaya, he talks about a system of ‘performance based incentives’ to encourage them to work harder. But that is aside from all the other incentives he is already promising them. Which, presumably, they will all get by default when and if he retains power. These ‘default’ incentives are substantial enough for the average public sector worker to not care a damn for any more ‘performance based incentives’ for a good while to come. And if no public servant wants to perform to get incentives. The incentive scheme will simply collapse. If any discerning public sector employee does try to outperform his colleagues in a division populated with slackers, he will promptly be pulled down and trampled upon, such is the way of the public sector. There needs to be unity among freeloaders for freeloading to flourish.
This pisses me off because i am paying extra when i buy things to pay these fools who are overstaffing what presumably should be ‘efficient and friendly’ government services. What pisses me off worse is being treated like dirt by these same people who i pay to keep fed and clothed. The average man needs to go through some hell and high water to get some basic needs fulfilled at most places. We are currently going through a major hassle trying to get our water meter fixed. For some reason the water doesn’t pass through the meter. We contacted the water board, only to be promised that someone will be along to look at it on several occasions. The water in the tank is not going to last forever and my father is now contemplating the anti social act of bypassing the meter with some S-lon pipes. See how inefficiency breeds public corruption.
The seedy underbelly of our state’s ‘service’ element is still exemplified in its original and most corrupt form in places like the Petroleum Corporation and Ports Authority. We don’t even need to sink out teeth into the petroleum corporation to taste the first nauseas indications of corruption, God knows how many rupees of the extra 80 rupees (figure subject to verification) I am paying for a liter of petrol goes to pay the salaries of slackers. My blood boils.
I know a guy in the Ports Authority who tells me that he goes in to work and watches Nuga Sevana on Rupavahini as he starts his first game of carrom for the day. He gets bottles of imported alcohol and packs of cigarettes for his friends whenever they are confiscated from people who have paid good money to buy them. He, in short is having a ball of a time, and is all for inefficient public services.
I however, am not. I think a 1:20 ratio of public sector people to other people in the country is maintained and developed by a succinct strategy by post colonial politicians to rope in the majority of the people and make them complacent freeloaders. In the meanwhile, they allow the rest to work themselves almost to death in the private sector in order to pay for the ones freeloading. This keeps everyone busy and prevents revolution. And allows the powerful to take what they want from wherever they want it.
Actually i don’t really think that. Even George Orwell wouldn’t think that. Such a conspiracy would require a string of conspirators capable of intellectual feats beyond the wildest dreams of your average Sri Lankan political mike hoarder. The masses are just continuously doped by chances at freeloading jobs and increases in salaries. The ever doubtful possibility of getting something for nothing is forever dangled before their shining eyes and promises are swallowed hook line and sinker. Public Services is now the Opium. Religion is just a pastime.
To Mahinda’s credit though, some of the public sector has shown marked improvement after he took over. The passport office, the RDA (i think) and the educational services industry being some. There is also a government info hotline (1919) that is quite prompt. His suggestion for the future however don’t really strike me as being directed at improving things. He should be making the public sector smaller, not larger. He should be streamlining it, not adding fat. Sarath Fonseka doesn’t seem to have got it either. His proposed plan of a salary hike of ten thousand rupees (adding 132 billion in spending a year) is impractical to say the least, and @#^$&(^%$^$!! to say a little more.
So will you look at us all strapped for choice.