Govt vs Private sector

     Its been long since I penned down owing to writer block or ubiquitous laziness. A month ago my office help , a poor lady met with accident and broke her hand. Next day she came with broken hand and tried to do her work with healthy hand. Despite advising her to take a month off , she was adamant that she will continue to come daily. Her fear was obvious. If she leaves, we will hire someone else and she will lose her job. Especially during corona wave where work is sparse. We somehow convinced that her job would be intact and as well she would be paid for that month as well. Now couple of years ago my colleague fell from bike and just had slight injury. Very next day, he got his entire hand bandaged, sent medical leave for one month. Just a scratch and he took month leave. This is fundamental difference between mindset of Govt & Pvt sector. In Pvt sector, employee should always be on toes lest sword of job loss may fall on him/her. More heart rending post on linkedin I read in recent times was something like this; “ Name XXX, 25 years experience, job lost, wife pregnant” Even contractual driver in govt need not fear over salary. On last working day, salary is credited irrespective of his/her productivity. One army commander once said to me “ We are in debt to tax payers. If we get one rupee, we should atleast strive to give back 70 paise if not 120 paise”

      Saying that I don’t say everything is bad , corrupt and lazy in Govt sector. Say 10-20% roughly are indeed sloppy & useless. But majority are struggling to justify their salaries and working beyond call of duty. If majority are not working country would have collapsed long ago, Private sector runs on profit as end point while Govt , its Service. I have been to many corners of our country in cities & villages. Only cell tower is BSNL. Only transport is State bus. Indian railways will stop at even small stations despite no or fewer passengers. Private sector would never go to such places coz there is no profit. You wont find , Govt transport cancel its services due to less passngers. Once I flew in Air India flight with less than 20% occupancy. Once I met Civil servant who was Observer in Elections who said” Indian elections is circus of democracy which even Microsoft Chief can organize and manage. Its only ordinary Babu (Bureacrat ) who can pull it off”. Organising mega events like Kumb mela or Elections or Vaccination drive etc in mind boggling diverse country like ours is sheer challenge , which Indian govt pulls it off. Average public servant is assaulted by million pulls & pressures of multiple variety. He has to balance all. Add to this, the sheer numbers of population & scant resources. Roughly it would be like one or two public servants/doctors/cops etc trying to serve 1000 people. Police patrol jeep would be allotted 100 litres fuel but their jusridction would be few lakhs household area. It would be like bottle of water in desert. How does he manage it? Jugaad!!!

     There was one MLA who vented out saying “Despite we want to do good, public now expect more, voters demanding money and for every malaise we politcians are targets. People wont pay tax, don’t obey rules of State, flout all norms in their personal lives in building their homes or on road or just evade taxes.” When things go wrong, they question us.”. Not all are bad. Its not like Govt employees would be lazy, sit idle etc. Many work 24/7/365 . I am not exaggerating . This is true. In Pvt sector, you can go on vacation and not much disturbance comes from office. In Govt, there is technically no leave. You are bound to cancel everything & attend job at hand. During floods or natural disaster, you should see how entire Govt machinery works non-stop. USA failed when Katrina hit its coast but we do considerably better. When we blame govt of inefficient & corrupt, we should not forget, neither Govt servants nor politicians have come from heavens to rule us. They have emerged from our own society & families. Govt is reflection of our society.  It takes two to tango. We want municipality to keep roads clean & environment healthy yet we fail to segregate our garbage or avoid plastic. We rather buy hundreds of plastic water bottles in rly stations or hotels than carry our own bottle or drink normal water. We seldom follow traffic rules unless there is traffic sop round the corner. isnt it?

      I ve been to places where neither Govt nor private sector services were available. Their local people keep their streets clean, work as community. Time we in better places adopt what tribals do.

Sectors where Pvt sector has monopoly in instances turned totally tyrannical & flouted all human rights & envirnmantal norms. (Weapons/Pharma/Beverages/Tech industries for example). Some Investment company in USA was suggesting Pharma company that its not business sense to keep to find cure to cancer. What Pharma company sells for 1000/-, Govt subsidies to manufactures at 10/-.

    I think both sides have something to learn from both the sides. Both have their positives & negatives. In India, its delicate game of navigation, which we are doing quite good. And ofcourse it can do better. Lemme end with my credo:  “Proud to be in service of State with all integrity, Honesty, Passion & Dedication”

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Praveen Sagar

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