It is high time that every manager in the State Sector makes a
genuine effort to discipline his or her staff with a view to improving
efficiency and productivity etc. My tale of woe, would reveal the
pathetic state of the State Sector today.
I am a pensioner who has had a Bank Account at Borella for over 40
years. Being a sick octogenarian today, unable to travel to Borella all
the way from Pitakotte, I opened an account at a Bank within walking
distance from my residence.
By my letter dated August 13 sent under registered cover, I informed
the Divisional Secretary, Thimbirigasyaya, the address of the Bank and
account no. and requested him to remit my pension to this bank
commencing month of September.
When my request was not complied with, I sent a reminder on September
13, enclosing a stamped envelope to facilitate replaying.
As there was no response up to October, I complained to the Ministry
of Public Administration and Home Affairs, who referred the matter to
Director General of Pensions, who in turn referred it to the Divisional
Secretary by his letter dated November 9. Thus, I had to travel to
Borella in November and December as well, at considerable inconvenience
and unnecessary expenditure.
A noncontroversial, simple matter that could be attended to, within a
few minutes has now been neglected for five months. The Ministry
Secretary should have contacted Director of Pensions, and ordered the
Divisional Secretary to comply immediately. But, this was never done.
My only option now, is to seek legal aid including a demand for
reimbursement of my expenses at Rs. 1,000 per trip. On the last
occasion, as I did not process a cheque leaf, I had to invest in a book,
which will go waste.
For the information of the Managers in the State Sector, I wish to
narrate my experience as a Manager, two and half decades ago, when I
assumed duties as a Manager (Operational and maintenance) in a
Government Institution, I observed that the overtime claims from a large
worksite were far too high.
However, as there was nothing I could do immediately, I submitted the
documents with my recommendations for approval. My boss, who was a
disciplinarian almost threw the file of papers on to my table, saying he
cannot approve. I could not return the papers to the site as the
engineer would be in a helpless position in sorting it out, and it would
end up in Trade Union action.
Now that my Boss had provided the ammunition, I decided to fire
scrutinising every claim with the red pen in hand, I recommended
approval of 75 per cent in general and only 50 per cent for unrealistic
Overtime for operational duty is unavoidable as one has to cover the
absentee's shift. Those on maintenance duty could complete the job well
before 5.00 p.m., go to their quarters and come back by midnight to sign
`My tactics worked successfully, when on pay day, the genuine
minority sorted out the problem with the fraudulent majority, and the
practice was not repeated thereafter.
When a member of the public who has paid up and finalised all
necessary requirements informs me that the site officer was not
attending to this matter for weeks, I come to the conclusion that he was
waiting for the envelope.
What I would do is to contact him over the phone and order him to
attend to it immediately. I never referred simple noncontroversial
matters to my subordinates with the standard writing - for your kind
perusal and necessary action, which was relevant 60 years ago when we
had a trained, dedicated and efficient work force with hardly a trace of
bribery in practice and lethargy was unknown.
The way things are moving in the Government Sector today is common
knowledge. When a workman applies for a salary advance for the purchase
of a push cycle, the subject clerk retains duly completed papers on the
desk indefinitely without sending them to the accounts branch, awaiting
The supervisor does not care because he or she gets a share. The
Police Constable who comes to inquire into a minor complaint, settles
the issue within minutes, but does not leave until a Santhosam is
offered. The Inspector can have no control over his men, in this field,
as he himself is dishonest.
When a citizen applies for a duplicate driving licence to the
Commissioner of Motor Traffic, the subject clerk is expected to recover
the relevant file from bundles in the stores section where numbers are
Without attending to this, the subject clerk keeps the application in
her steel cabinet for months until a gratification is received. The
supervising lady does not care because she gets her share.
We must try to find out why the private sector is progressing while
the State sector is retreating.
The chief executive in the private sector is highly professional. He
motivates his staff. His orders are promptly carried out. What could be
achieved within five minutes, he does not extend for five months.
Managers in the Government Sector should consider the time factor in
executing a job. Pressure must be exerted from above to expedite
legitimate functions and not for illegal activities.
An honest Manager in the Government sector who displays flexibility
when dealing with grievances of his staff, could be extremely firm when
issuing orders, with confidence that they would be promptly carried out.
While congratulating and agreeing with Nadira Gunatilleke for most of
the views/opinions expressed in the above article appearing under the
caption 'Social Disclosure' in the Daily News of December 27, I wish to
make the following two observations:
1. There is absolutely no place to sacrifice/ kill animals for
religious reasons/ religious rituals in either Buddhism or Hinduism:
Both religions give pride of place and sanctity to 'Ahimsa' or Loving
Compassion to all animals and 'taboos' animal slaughter under all
circumstances except in one instance and that is when one's own life is
at risk from death when confronted by for instance by a poisonous
snake(Cobra) or a tiger.
I also do not agree with the statement 'anyone may have the right to
eat meat' because it is stated in the tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism to
abstain from meat of any kind always.
2. The statement in the article that 'certain persons have special
nutritional requirements and may have to eat meat, and this too could be
acceptable' is also not correct.
This is a misconception and is no longer valid or true. Being a
medical man myself I categorically state that current medical opinion is
that 'there is nothing more nutritious that could be obtained from a
carnivorous (flesh) diet than what could be derived from a well chosen
lacto- vegetarian diet- and I may add that this is accepted today by the
World Health Organization(WHO) as well as the American Medical
However in instances where one is allergic to milk-protein, soya milk
or soya protein in the form of soya bean curd could meet the protein
requrements of those who require special nutritional requirements
without resorting to consuming flesh obtained from slaughtered innocent
PROFESSOR M. SIVASURIYA
The Government at regular intervals of every five to six years grants
certain categories of public servants permits to issue duty free cars.
The Government sector employees are already a pampered lot.
The State sector employees already enjoy a wide range of special
benefits such as salaries which are totally tax-free irrespective of the
The State incurs an expenditure of billions of dollars of much needed
foreign exchange to import these vehicles.
The foreign exchange for the import of vehicles is drawn from the
millions of dollars that expatriate workers remit annually to Sri Lanka.
So it is nothing but fair that the Government considers granting
vehicle permits on a totally duty free basis to expatriate workers
granting them perhaps 20 to 30 per cent of their remittances as a
criteria for determining the value of the vehicle to be imported.
It is rather difficult to understand why the authorities fixed a high
CIF value of US$ 13,000 for the import of vehicles when there are many
fuel efficient vehicles available for CIF prices ranging from a low of
US$ 5500 to US$ 8000.