Economic Times has invited its readers to state what their dream for the state would be. My response was that I dream of a state with the babudom reduced to such an extent that half of Vidhan Soudha (and, of course, the entire Vikas Soudha) itself gets rented out.
Mr Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister, had very correctly stated that "there can be economy where there is efficiency".
Even as the Karnataka government seems to have made up its mind on getting totally out of manufacturing activities, it is seen to be doing very little by way of reducing its own gargantuan size. As of today, the entire government work can be done far more efficiently and effectively by less than a tenth of the existing work force if it withdraws from areas it doesn't need to be in, and by going in for large-scale out-sourcing, retaining the services of a select few who can then be paid well.
In fact, the government would do well to target totally vacating the MS buildings, the Vikas Soudha, and even half the Vidhan Soudha itself, and in the process, generate revenue for itself by renting out these premises.
The employees rendered surplus can be given the Golden handshake or even a Platinum one. If they don’t accept it, daily attendance melas can be organised in four different corners of the city and salaries paid to them at the end of the month. As long as they are kept away from office, their potential for harm reduces considerably, and the state will be the overall gainer even with having to pay for no work done at all. With the loaves of office no longer available, they will eventually tire out and quit.
Though such a step can be viewed as harsh, it should be realised that every non-productive government job is today coming in the way of creation of atleast ten times as many jobs in the private sector in newer and newer areas. As such, nobody need shed tears for the government babu any more.
The politicians should realise that privatisation, outsourcing, etc are no longer dirty words in the minds of the public. On the contrary, they have gained considerable acceptance since they are clearly seen to improve efficiency, and are in fact becoming very populist concepts.
The slogan for the states now may as well be ‘privatise, outsource and prosper’.