Meena Singh, Upper Division Clerk, Lucknow
I have been in government service for a decade and half. I have witnessed the callous attitude of state employees, rampant corruption and indiscipline very closely. One thing that I can tell you with conviction that the (Narendra) Modi government has genuinely tried to bring about a change in sarkari work culture during its (nearly) five years of rule.
In my own department, I would notice the lower level staff never came on time and left at their own will. During winter, the offices will go empty after barely an hour of work, as most of the staff, from Section Officer to Chaprasi (peon), will spread out on the lawns under the sun. Those associated with employees’ welfare groups were the worst to handle with. I remember some of them would dare even IAS-level officers to take any action against them.
Things gradually began to change after Modi Sarkar came to power and in October, 2104 our office was equipped with biometric attendance machines. Last year, even the state government offices followed this practice after Yogi (Adityanath) became UP chief minister. I guess more than the machine, it was the message – Modi means business – that went down at every level.
Har dawa kadvi hoti hai par asar karti hai (medicinal pill may be bitter, but gives positive results in the long term). Initially, a lot of babus were skeptical in our office too. They said this will not last. But many of us, including me, welcomed it. I am not saying our department performance has improved drastically but earlier the errant moved without any fear of action. They were shameless. I saw people asking for chadava (bribe money) as if they were demanding legitimate wages.
Now, babus have been advised to even follow social media to ensure that any negative feedback does not reach the higher-ups. Every time, our family finds some work stuck in a government office, my son advises me to put the name of department and official concerned on Twitter. So, in a way, the machinery is becoming responsive.
Today, the work-shirker know they are on the wrong and may get penalized. There has been inquiry ordered against several babus I know. Now, the bribe is asked in hush tones. The corrupt has fear of government in mind. This is no mean achievement, in my opinion. And I give Modi ji 100 per cent credit for this.
Another change is the cleanliness in our offices. When I had joined work, we used to carry our own dusting cloths with us to clean our chairs and tables. The safai staff would just not budge. Swachh Bharat mission has given us a big relief. There are random ‘safai audit’ and the errant staff is warned. Besides, there is a behavioural change among the staff about cleanliness and hygiene.
I know it will take several decades for our government employees to come clean. The system will not change with just one Modi. But at least there has been a step towards that direction.
My vote goes to Modi ji. He definitely deserves a second term.