Thursday, July 10, 2008

Incentives as usual

I am staying on campus at this place that is essentially run by the Central Government. Although, the academics is mostly without government interference there is a huge bureaucracy here that reeks government management. Let me take the simplest case of the lady who is in-charge of housekeeping activities in my dorm. She is responsible for 5 floors of rooms (about 30 rooms) and bathrooms. Each room is about 8x10 and each floor has 2 lavatories and 2 shower stalls. This lady is supposed to sweep and mop every room and clean the bathrooms everyday. It takes about 5 minutes to sweep and mop a room, and she has a small register occupants are supposed to date and sign. I have been here about a month now and the bathrooms have been dirty all through. Although she is given cleaning supplies, she barely uses them and cursorily pours water all over the place to make it seem clean. The very first day, she walks into my room and even before she begins to clean, asks for a bribe shamelessly. This morning she asked me to give her clothes for her daughter. Complaints to the management are no use, because the worst is that she gets a scolding. There is no incentive for her to work. 
As a Central government employee she has job security, pension and other benefits, none of which are tied to her work. Whether she does her job or not, she cannot get fired and since she knows she has a job for life she does not really care and shirks on the job. Since Independence at least, a government job has been the most coveted one especially for these reasons. It is as good as unemployment insurance schemes where individuals are paid to remain jobless. In addition they have learned to seek bribes and ask for them openly without any shame. If I refuse to give a bribe to this lady, I am called cruel and lacking in humanitarian values, especially because she is poor and needs our help. C'mon already! She shows me a glossy picture album of her daughter's wedding and tells me there is a DVD as well if I want to see it. Lets even assume that she is in debt cause of the wedding expenses, why does that obligate me to pay her a bribe? I am more than willing to give her a cash gift if she does extraordinary on her job. She is not even doing her job much less do something over and above to make me reward her for her efforts. On the contrary she is inconveniencing me by not working, cause I am having to maintain my sense of cleanliness by cleaning the bathrooms for myself at least. 
Give them incentives to work please!! 

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