Whereas the absence of large-scale industries is obvious, Nagaland has seen gradual growth in private enterprises as well as expansion in private marketing networks. Such private undertakings mostly flourish in urban settings providing job opportunities to the educated but unemployed youth. It was empirically evident that on average candidates numbering fifty-hundred got themselves enlisted for each interview called. Advertisements for open recruitment in private agencies in local dailies are as frequent as appointments make by the establishments themselves without any interview. Calculation by this logic, the number of persons working in various private establishments may far exceed the number of employees under the State Government. However, the conclusion is in reverse.
Now, the real interest is on how the private undertakings could not muster as much work force as that of their counterparts outside the state, or for that matter, the State Government. Or, what primarily offset the frequent switching of jobs, and in extreme situation leave the jobs altogether, in private sector at the rate much higher than the Government sector when the nature of jobs is more manual-oriented in the latter? Understanding this uneven growth of job is superimposed on considerate evaluation of the working environment of the two entities.
Firstly, the private establishments set long unfavourable working hours for the employees. The reference period may subject to further extension deep into late night in complete submission to the decisional autonomy as enjoyed by the private proprietors or as the circumstance may so warrant. In the worst case scenario, employees hardly get paid overtime allowances which are rightly due to them. In summation, employees are deprived of proper mental and physical rest along with rightful monetary rewards.
Secondly, the employees in public sector are entitled to various types of leave which aren’t available for their private counterparts. Employees of private establishment are hardly entitled to 12 days of casual leave in a year. The rate of granting special leave on petition is minimal while the process itself is sometimes rigorous. In some circumstances, grant of leave is conditional, i.e., pay deduction, halve wage per day. The diligent workers are caged once their appointment orders are served.
Thirdly, the absence of Service Rules or any other legally established bye-laws regulating the terms of contract – appointments & terminations, the service conditions and to safeguard the interest of the employees speak volumes. Lack of service rules is one such vulnerable area where the unscrupulous owners could well exploit the situation to execute unethical decisions detrimental to the welfare of the employees. Any slight misadventure by an individual employee may be subject to unlawful stringent observation and resorting to arbitrary punitive measures by the owners. Continuation and discontinuation in service as well as the durability of the service length in private establishments fundamentally concentrated in the source of satisfaction and financial stability of the individual proprietors.
Fourthly, the huge difference in monthly remuneration as currently availed by the employees of the two entities, i.e., Government and private, lies at the core of the unequal enthusiasm of the working population while seeking jobs in the two aforementioned sectors. For instance, the honorarium given to a Receptionist in a private enterprise may be as low as one-third / one-fourth as compared with the total emoluments of its counterparts in public sector. Further, few educational institutes who by virtue of their sheer competence in academic course generate handsome revenue yet they prefer to pay their employees at the bare minimum possible, irrespective of how its esteemed staff have been integral to the growth story of such institutes. In addition, yearly increment and promotional avenue for the employees of those who work in private establishments are almost non-existent, or if so in place, inconsiderate of the plight of the employees.
The working system in private establishments therefore centripetally gravitates towards the sole private interest of the owners, in most situations. As its name suggests, all efforts require a tendency to align with the business principle of the private owners whilst the welfare of its employees is advertently or inadvertently overlooked. The ethics of work thus run contrary to the objectives set and adhere to at the public establishments, i.e., welfare-oriented, community-oriented, and public-oriented.
It is time for the policy makers to devise a regulatory mechanism to streamline the framework within which the private establishments may be subject to as far as the working conditions and the terms of contract (of the employees hired) are concerned. Alternatively, every private venture may be made to present the terms and conditions to be executed at the time of hiring / appointing employees and an established emolument for a specific position while seeking approval / registration from the State Government. Two fundamental reasons that repel educated youth from taking private jobs are extremely low remuneration and asymmetric incentive to the service contributed. These are worth debating since one’s existential question revolves around one’s ability to earn equivalent to the service exerted. Unless the policy makers put in place the core safety valve in private sector, blunt appeals to the youth to foray into private sector may have few takers.
Nagas are by tradition communal and possess a ready-to-go complementary community service as and when such is called for. This may be one probable reason as to why the Nagas in general fail to fare well in private enterprises along with low enthusiasm to work for private ventures. However, nowadays, such community service comes with a cost – the right to earn one’s livelihoods – in exchange of the resource one naturally possessed and the service tendered. Hence, it is incumbent upon the State policy makers to tap the young and enthusiastic talents available in the local markets towards the development of our community. In doing so, we must first offload the huge accumulated parasitic work force who prefer to sit back home to have their fat salaries credited to their accounts. In other words, getting paid for works not done. Also, the policy makers should explore the feasibility to delegate responsibilities as opposed to overwhelmingly controlling both administration and implementation with less visible success at the helms of the State’s custody. Delegation of responsibilities with premium incentive may be undertook in health, social, educational and other amenity services by floating more but dedicated NGOs, Community Service Organisations (CSOs) over which the Government may have decisional, financial and administrative authority, and the former empowered with practical ground work. This may consequentially open up employment opportunities to the dedicated youth force. In this context, the Nagaland communitisation is a right direction but with a defective implementation policy as those who make sacrificial services for community welfare do not get paid. A plant that provides yet does not get watered shall cease to bear fruits, by nature, shall cease to exist.