|Tuesday, 10 August 2004|
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The new Government on a priority basis created 30,000 jobs for graduates. It appears that the appointees to these posts of teachers etc. have been made purely on paper qualifications whereas at least an IQ test should have been conducted.
Being a graduate does not mean that the person is more suitable for a particular Government job than one having 'A' Level qualifications.
Now that the Government has finalised the appointment of the graduates, it is time they looked into the problem of finding jobs for those who have passed the GCE (Advanced Level).
There are many jobs the Government can create which will be revenue generating, which means that the Government need not look as to how to find money to pay for salaries of the new recruits. They can create additional jobs such as Traffic Policemen, Assessors for the local authorities, Asst. Assessors for the Inland Revenue Dept., Public Health Inspectors etc.
Persons thus recruited for the above mentioned posts will fine errant motorists which will bring revenue of over 10 times that of their salaries, additional tax for the Municipalities by way of re-assessing every single premises in the local authority (it is estimated that nearly 40 per cent of the premises do not pay local taxes).
Then there are the Professionals ranging from Medical Specialists to Lawyers who earn over half a million rupees a day but declare only a mere fraction to the revenue authorities. Some Medical Specialists charge Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 500,000 for a single operation.
In the Public Health Sector the new PHIs can impose spot fines on litterbugs and on householders who breed mosquitoes and also do not keep their premises clean.
There are hundreds of thousands of small boutiques and eating houses which have an average turnover of over Rs. 25,000 per day who neither pay VAT nor income tax. If there were 3-4 revenue inspectors/collectors for each Grama Seva Division just imagine how many new jobs would be created.
Each Bus Depot could also recruit 30-50 ticket inspectors who will impose spot fines on ticketless travellers, their presence will automatically increase the revenue of the Bus Depots.
Let us hope the Government will create jobs for non-graduates too, or
is it that the Government only solves issue of those who stage fasts unto
death or climb some roof top?
A man of several cultures; an Indian by descent, a Trinidadian by birth, a Britisher by citizenship and global by character, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was in Bangkok a few weeks ago accompanied by his Pakistani wife, Nadira. He attended many interviews and readings during his short stay in Bangkok.
Naipaul, provocative and a cosmopolitan writer lived in three societies and his bitterness toward them is expressed in following terms: "India is unwashed, Trinidad is unlearned and England is intellectually and culturally bankrupt."
He now lives in a world where thick thrillers and tales of fantasy are in great demand. He admits that he is "a bad reader of that kind of fiction, modern fiction", and says that "this kind of books kill people's ability to develop sensibility."
Commenting upon the threat posed to serious writing by fat thrillers, Naipaul says that thrillers come from secure cultures or wealthy countries and that these books are backed by a huge marketing machine which persuades bookshops to buy in bulk, "when you are secure, you can read a thriller, but your world is about to be swept away you are not going to read a thriller" says Naipaul.
He opines that the death of serious literature reflects the state of the world at large and he aptly describes this lopsided development in following terms; "the strange combination of high-technological advance and low intellectual development".
Having met a person dealing with millions and millions of dollars, reading a bulky thriller, Naipaul expressed his doubts "whether one could have any profound conversation with people who make billions in developing the computer."
He paints a gloomy picture of the future of our dot.com world;" ..
I feel that our civilization is very, very fragile and probably with the
touch of a violent finger it can collapse... things can and do collapse...
the art of civilization can disappear..."
On watching Asia Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, I have seen II types of TV ads under two groups. The first group is ground ads namely on umpires and players' dress, on stumps and bats and on ground surface and boundary blockade and are unavoidable and acceptable.
The other category is the TV originated ones and is of two types. One is usual 'over-change' ads and the second is new play screen ads.
They were on the screen as right-bottom stables, left margin climbers, top and bottom runners and middle of the screen blinkers. Unfortunately those ads disturb the viewers' attention, spoil the interest and curtailed the entertainment and generated a dislike over the responsible companies.
Those who are unable to attend to see the match flock to their TVs all over the country to see the live telecast but it is almost 'dead' because of this ad nuisance and viewers could not enjoy fully.
It appears that the TV channels' main objective has now changed to earn money at the expense of viewers' welfare. The product companies try to promote their sales through third grade ads which are rejected by the society and demote sales.
As viewers we have noticed a few things on analyzing these ads.
There were three categories of TV ads good, bad and neutral and the judgement is subjective. The good ones we can tolerate (or enjoy) even they repeat several times. The neutral ones are indifferent and develop our patience.
The bad ones are difficult to tolerate, annoying and poor sales promoters. Those screen pests/viruses further indicate the following:
- They are embarrassing to watch together with parents and children and brothers and sisters of a cultured society as ours.
- In the long run they heavily contribute to degrade the young generation.
- Some reputed firms with well established brand names display indecent and third grade ads and damage their reputation.
The companies advertising their products have competitors producing alternatives and the consumer (viewer) is the final decision-maker and in no way can they reach 100 per cent market share.
It seems that companies once monopolistic in the market now face heavy competition and losing their market share are advertising heavily in fear of silent newcomers. Soaps, toothpaste and aerated waters are examples.
A product or service is bought not merely because it is advertised. The consumer preference depend inter-alia on comparing quality (taste), price, size, packaging, durability, reliability and availability at the point of purchasing.
The consumer knows that heavy advertising costs are borne at the expense of above qualities and 'silent' competitors divert funds to improve those qualities and the product itself advertises on its own.
The producing companies have the right to promote and protect their market share but they have no right to spoil the pleasure of the viewer and harm the young ex-generation.
The ad companies need creative and talented people who can think wisely to produce quality ads. They should know our culture. Producing an ad is a sharp creation. It is an art and a science.
It is having different facets to consider the society's cultures, religions, economy and psychology of consumer group and their acceptability. If those conditions are not considered, the consumers resist, repulse, reduce or reject completely those goods or services and compelled to use alternatives.
The heavy advertising companies need maintain a balance between the
media and not exceed the consumers' tolerance level (red line). Otherwise
it will boomerang on them after spending colossal sums of money.
They say Mahiyangana is hallowed ground. Or was? The Sri Lankan habit of spoiling most things has erased 'hallowed' from its present description, surely?
What do you call a spot, harbouring of the past 12 years an illicit abattoir, slaughtering cattle, goats, pigs, fowl and that, too, in the vicinity of the Pradeshiya Sabha, Police Station and the Vihara? (we are grateful to the TV station revealing this, and all other media personnel, who expose hidden horrors).
An official interviewed weakly protested that the butchers were asked to go away, but they didn't, so what to do except wait until they find another place?
As the programme presenter pointed out, when a man is evicted in 24 hours from a house he is illegally occupying, why are butchers allowed to keep their illicit abattoirs functioning, after being caught, and for 12 long years, at that? Surely there is something very wrong with the law or its administrators?
Apart from powerful protectors of the trade, who rake in the bloody dividends, we hear the safest way to run an illicit slaughter house, without protest, is to distribute freshly killed meat packets periodically, laced with arrack. If the police do not enforce the law, who will?
This being Mahiyangana and all, dare we ask the Buddha Sasana Minister
to go into action, even after 12 long years, to stop the blood of the
gruesomely slaughtered innocents soaking into its soil?
After several years of considerable agitation, the disparity created by some inefficient and inconsiderate bureaucrats in the computation of Pensions of Govt. servants who retired before and after 31.12.96, was finally rectified recently. However, there appears to be some snag in effecting payments accordingly.
If this is an indication of a dearth of efficient public officers at top level, it is unbelievable. We are proud to have had persons like Bradman Weerakoon who served five Prime Ministers to their satisfaction or late Dr. Mackie Ratwatte who planned and carried out a massive conference of non - alligned leaders at the BMICH, with split second timing of events, under late Premier, Sirimavo B. Will a similar go-getter please step in and accelerate the relevant payment process?
As an alternative, why not make an interim payment, pending
finalisation of the calculations?
There is a long delay in paying the arrears to pensioners as relevant offices are taking a long time to prepare their documents. Many pensioners feel they would be in the other world when the officials were ready to pay.
If the computations are taking a long time cannot the Pensions Department decide on a figure which would be common for everybody and add that amount to the present pension and immediately start paying the enhanced amount and the corresponding arrears.
When the computations are over the balance amount can be paid.
Religion, if at all must be practised every day, nay every second of our lives.
Paying mere lip service to religion is pure hypocrisy. If one or two
ignorant people do so, one can understand. But if we think that one is
being very fair just by banning the 'sins' on poya days, there is
definitely something wrong with their thinking.
Produced by Lake House