The rot of ad-hocism in Government departments…
When I joined government service in mid eighties I was more than enthusiastic about my profession and the expertise I intended to share with my people as a technocrat. However, during the process of familiarization with the working conditions and the overall state of affairs within the department I found most of my seniors disheartened and entangled in a web of service matter controversies and disputes. Apparently I could feel their anguish and locate their genuine demands of pay disparity and several other anomalies. However, during most of their protest rallies and demonstrations their most favored catchphrase was ‘OPG is a disease, cure it’. As a young man in my early twenties and not being familiar with the nitty-gritty of service matters the abbreviation OPG was new to my lexicon though at that point of time it sounded fascinating. Curiosity infused some courage into my gentle soul and I asked one of my seniors about their problems and the catchy abbreviation of OPG. After long sigh with perceptible signs of despair giving a gentle pat on my young shoulders, he said, ‘OPG means, Own Pay and Grade and is synonym of adhockery’. Thus OPG was my first lesson on service matters of my prospective service career. Unfortunately, after many years of my employment, knowingly or unknowingly I found myself part of the mad crowd that was day in and day out shouting ‘OPG is a disease, cure it’. How maddening! During last more than two decades I could see most of my seniors facing retirement and death with desperate whimpers of ‘OPG the curse’ even at the end.
It is now 27th year down the memory lane of my professional career and the situation seems to be no better. Widespread ad-hocism has now become integral part of our system and almost every segment of the government is plagued with this menacing exploitive scheme. Moreover it has become a regular feature in government departments in particular. While looking for the root cause of this whole rot it becomes apparent that over the period of time in almost all government departments and establishments some unscrupulous elements who were either ineligible or could not compete for legitimate elevation and promotion within the set pattern of recruitment and service rules resorted to every possible clandestine means to make inroads into the hierarchy. And to facilitate their agenda a vast segment of power centre within the administration in one way or the other are encouraging and patronizing these elements of deceit and epithets of bluff. Beyond nepotism, and skewed rules ad-hocism is one such ploy that gives a palpable diverse route of elevation and promotion to these favor seekers and blue-eyed boys. Ad-hocism is a camouflage! That facilitates making an insubstantial hill out of a useless and redundant mole; it provides an easy passage for chosen few over the heads of many eligible souls. In addition of facilitating favors adhockery is the most effective tool to make officers and officials to sing to a particular tune. But at the end of the day the whole system of ad-hocism culminates into unjustified governance with loads of inefficiency and injustice.
Every government department and authority from top to bottom in one way or the other is suffering from communicable disease of adhockery. In most cases heads of the departments the real show managers are elevated to the top job by menacing procedure of ad-hocism via OPG and are made to toe the particular line that suits his or her master. At occasions to facilitate few the whole hierarchy is subjected to ad-hocism using OPG mantra. From most vital segment of government like health and education down to some lesser known sectors temporary arrangements and ad-hoc procedures of administration and human resource management are practised brazenly. Officers and officials are tied to puppetry of exploitation and ulterior motives with a candyfloss bond of ad-hocism that keeps them tied to the post but not bonded to the soul of their profession and moral responsibilities. This arrangement on one hand makes its perpetrators powerful and ruthless but on the other hand the whole system of governance gets cankered with corruption, inefficiency and valuelessness. Political masters along with their cronies are the most benefited lot and they feel no shame in promoting this art of governance through coercion and ambiguity even at the cost of efficiency, fair play and overall health of the society.
The ongoing scenario of faulty and coercive human resource management through OPG in government departments that adversely affects every government employee in one or the other way reminds me of more than two decades earlier desperation and helplessness of my seniors and now my own fate of oblivion after twenty seven years of service. Truly, OPG is a disease, cure it.