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Is the idea of state running large buses the solution to improve public transport experience?

Every one of us commuting in public vehicles in the city can recognize the awful experience in travelling by heavily crowded unmaintained buses while being squeezed up among commuters in most uncomfortable ways. The chronic victims are in fact the ones traveling to work on busy commuting hours when this recklessness is at its peak. For such commuters as we know, travelling between home and work has mostly been the area of tension besides work.

In recognizing the tragedy of the commuters, the central government has made a decision to urge the municipalities of Kathmandu Valley to jointly form a company to operate 50 large buses running around the city. And, given our common belief that state is somehow responsible for taking care of our fundamental necessities like proper public transport system, this decision can easily be perceived as virtuous effort. After all, this government commitment to provide better public commutation service to people seems as a move to rescue us from the daily bad commutation experience. However, this common logic doesn’t draw the complete picture for this matter. There are actually relatively unaddressed but severe realities that can lead us to come at more thoughtful conclusions.

In digging deeper down in search of the root cause of the terrible realities of our public transport service, one has to come across the existence of mafia-like transport syndicate. The transport syndicate being formed by influential associations of transport operators has enabled them to dominate the public transport sector in Nepal despite the horrible transportation service they are providing since decades. By preventing the entry of new transport entrepreneurs in the public transport sector by means of coercion and vandalism, the syndicate of public transport associations has heavily protected the limited number of below standard service providers from the mechanism of free competition that guarantees quality service. Meanwhile, their strong political connection and presence in regulatory committee (i.e., Transport Management Committee) that awards permits to new entrepreneurs in this sector has retained their impunity from law despite their illegal attempts to maintain monopoly.

The idea of government running its own bus fleets to put competitive pressure on the syndicate is understandable. But, it may not be the most sustainable solution to the benefit of public vehicle commuters and taxpayers at large. To clarify such contention, one can always refer to the misery of the state-run enterprises in having to hugely rely on state coffer financed by taxpayers to somehow run its inefficient and loss making operations producing below standard services. Though they carry the objective of running in a profit-model concept that expects them of surviving on their own revenue, the state-system instead offers them the facility to encroach on tax payer’s wealth indefinitely as they lose track of profits. And, given the upcoming transport company is to be functioning within the same system and incentive, we can logically expect same fate for this transport based public enterprise too. Alas, state could be only adding another avenue to leech taxpayer’s wealth in name of providing so-called “basic transport service” to the people without considering the financial burden it generates among the very people.

Having said this, utilizing regulatory tools to establish competitive market environment in the public transport sector can instead lead the state to create an effective solution that doesn’t require manipulating taxpayers’ wealth. By neutralizing the condition generated by the syndicate to keep new transport entrepreneurs away from the market, such measure will compel service providers to compete among each other to provide competitive service efficiently to survive in the market on profits. Most importantly, besides preventing taxpayer’s from the burden of financing transport service, it will enable commuters to travel more conveniently with impressive solutions that yield out of continuous innovation through sustained competition.

Prience Shrestha

About Prience Shrestha

Prience works in the research department at Samriddhi Foundation. And, he attempts to specialize in the field of Development Economics

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क्षय हुँदै गएका सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको आन्तरिक सुधार कि निजीकरण ?

भर्खरै मात्र सरकारले सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको वार्षिक स्थिति समीक्षा, २०७३ सार्वजनिक गर्यो । यसले नेपालमा १४ वटा संस्थानहरु खुद घाटामा संचालन भएको देखाएको छ भने बाँकी २० वटा संस्थान खुद नाफामा संचालन भएको देखाएको छ । यो अघिल्लो आर्थिक वर्षको भन्दा केही सुध्रिएको तस्वीर जस्तो देखिन्छ जुन बेला १७ वटा खुद घाटामा र १९ वटा खुद नाफामा सन्चालन भएका थिए ।  तर गत वर्षझैँ यसपटक पनि १८ वटा सार्वजनिक संस्थान सञ्चित नोक्सानीमै रहेका छन् । अझै पनि सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको कोषमा व्यवस्था नगरिएको दायित्व रु. २५ अर्ब ८० करोड ६८ लाख देखिन्छ । यसले नेपालमा सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको अवस्था सन्तोषजनक नरहेको र यी दोहनकारी संस्थाहरुको रुपमा स्थापित हुँदै गएको देखिन्छ । अब प्रश्न उठ्न सक्छ सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरु रहिरहनुको औचित्यता के ? सार्वजनिक संस्थानलाई लगभग असफल अवस्थामा डोहोर्याउने कारक तत्व के के हुन ? यी कारक तत्वलाई कसरी सुधार गर्दै जाने त ? सार्वजनिक संस्थानको सुधारको लागि निजीकरण नै किन ?

सार्वजनिक संस्थानको औचित्य

नेपालमा सार्वजनिक संस्थान स्थापना गर्नु रहर होईन आवश्यकता हो भन्दै अर्थतन्त्रका सबै क्षेत्रमा सार्वजनिक संस्थानको उपस्थिति लाई व्यापक बनाईयो । आर्थिक सामाजिक रुपान्तरण गर्दै राष्ट्र निर्माण गर्न सक्ने एकमात्र कर्ताको रुपमा सार्वजनिक संस्थानलाई विकास र विस्तार गर्दै लगियो । तर जुन लक्ष्य र उद्देश्यका साथ सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको शुरुवात भएको थियो ती लक्ष्य र उद्देश्य कति पूरा भए भन्ने कुरा खाद्य गोदाम हुने तर खाद्यान्न नहुने, विद्युतका तार खम्बा हुने तर विजुली नहुने, आयल निगम हुने तर ग्याँस, पेट्रोल  माग गरे अनुसार नपाउने अवस्थाले चित्रण गर्दछ । सार्वजनिक संस्थानको स्थापना हुंदैमा सार्वजनिक सेवा प्रवाहमा प्रभावकारीता आई सामाजिक आर्थिक रुपान्तरणमा महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका खेल्न सक्यो भन्ने अवस्था पनि छैन । देशको आर्थिक मेरूदण्डको रूपमा स्थापित सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरू कालान्तरमा राज्यको ठूलो बोझका रूपमा बाटो हराएको बटुवा जस्तो दोबाटोमा एक्लै ठिङ्ग उभिन पुगेको अवस्था छ । सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुले न त आर्थिक, सामाजिक विकासको संवाहकको भूमिका खेल्न सके, न त निजी क्षेत्रको पथ प्रदर्शककै ।

यसर्थ, नेपालको सन्दर्भमा मिश्रित अर्थतन्त्रको दर्शन अनुरुप सरकारले समेत उद्योग धन्दा, बन्द व्यापार गर्ने अथवा निजी क्षेत्र सक्षम नहुन्जेल सरकारले नै व्यवसाय संचालन गर्ने भनी खडा गरिएका कैयन संस्थानहरु, जो वर्षौं वर्ष देखि घाटामा गई रहेका छन्, तिनलाई अब सरकारले संचालन गरिरहनुको औचित्य देखिँदैन ।

सार्वजनिक संस्थानमा देखिएका साझा समस्या

सार्वजनिक संस्थानलाई यस अवस्थामा ल्याउने उत्प्रेरक तत्व न हामीले भन्ने गरेको जस्तो अति राजनीतिक हस्तक्षेप हो न त यसले भन्दै आएको जस्तो कम स्वायत्तता । यो त जोखिम र उत्तरदायित्व पनि नव्यहोर्ने तर प्रतिफल मात्र खोजी हिँडने प्रवृत्तिले हो । गाईलाई आँफूले  घाँस पनि नहाल्ने, घाँस काट्ने दु:ख पनि नगर्ने तर दूध भने दोहीरहने परिपाटीले गर्दा नै हो यस्तो भएको । कतिपय सार्वजनिक संस्थान अब दूध नै दिन नसक्ने गरी थारो लाग्न थालेको अवस्था छ ।

सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुमा देखा परेको अर्को साझा समस्या हो स्वउत्प्रेरणाको अभाव । जुन सबैको हो तर कसैको होइन भने जस्तै, जब सम्म कुनै व्यक्तिले कुनै चीजको स्वामित्व लिँदैन, तब काम गर्ने व्यक्तिमा स्वउत्प्रेरणाको अभाव रहन्छ । घरको कम्पाउण्ड भित्र रोपिएको आँप र कम्पाउण्ड बाहिर उम्रिएको आँपको विरुवामा कसलाई बढी स्याहार सुसार गरिन्छ भन्ने कुराले नै थाहा हुन्छ कि सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरु यस्तो अवस्थामा  आईपुग्नुको कारण । तलब भत्ता पाएकै छ तर त्यसको लागि आँफूले केही गुमाउनु पर्ने र जोखिम लिनुपर्ने नभएपछि सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरु घाटामा जानु अस्वभाविक हुँदै होइन ।

नेपालमा सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको सुधारका उपायहरु

सार्वजनिक संस्थानको सुधारका लागि मुख्यत दुई वटा कुरालाई विचार गर्नु पर्ने हुन्छ । पहिलो, सार्वजनिक क्षेत्रमा नै रहन दिएर सुधार गर्ने । दोश्रो, सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको स्वामित्व हस्तान्तरण गरेर निजीकरण गर्ने । सार्वजनिक संस्थानमै रहन दिएर सुधार गर्ने भन्ने मतले यसलाई बढी भन्दा बढी स्वायत्तता दिएर यसो गर्ने भन्दछ तर नेपालका सबै सार्वजनिक संस्थान कानूनत स्वायत्त छन् । यसर्थ, यो उपायले मात्र सार्वजनिक संस्थान प्रभावकारी तथा उत्पादनमूलक हुने देखिँदैन ।

डा. हरि पौडेल लेख्नुहुन्छ, “नोक्सानमा गएका संस्थानहरुलाई यथाशक्य सरकारी क्षेत्रमै कायम राखी तिनमा सुधार गर्ने विभिन्न विकल्पहरु धेरै अघिदेखि नेपाल लगायत विभिन्न मुलुकहरुमा अपनाइएता पनि तिनको अनुभव सुखद र सकारात्मक रहेको देखिँदैन । नेपाल लगायत अन्य केही मुलुकहरुमा केही केसहरुमा कार्य सम्पादन सम्झौता गरी दक्ष व्यवस्थापकहरुलाई लिज वा करारमा संचालन गर्न दिएका कुरामा सफलता देखिए पनि अधिकांशका हकमा यो सफल नदेखिएको र छिमेकी मुलुक भारतको अनुभवले पनि हाल आएर यो विकल्प सफल नदेखिएको अनुभव छ । त्यस्तै संस्थानहरुलाई संचालन गर्न सक्ने पूँजी, व्यवसायिकता र उद्यमशिलता निजी क्षेत्रमा समेत पर्याप्त विकास भईसकेको छ । त्यसैले यस्ता संस्थानहरुलाई जतिसक्दो छिटो निजीक्षेत्रलाई हस्तान्तरण गर्ने वा आर्थिक रुपले निजीक्षेत्रले समेत लिन उपयुक्त नभएका संस्थानलाई खारेज गर्नु उपयुक्त हुने देखिन्छ ।”

नेपालको सन्दर्भमा जहाँ निजी क्षेत्रलाई पनि जनताले पूर्ण रुपमा विश्वास गरिसकेको अवस्था छैन र निजी क्षेत्र पनि आफ्नो धर्मलाई बिर्सेर अनुचित लाभ उठाउन तर्फ उद्यत रहेको देखिन्छ, त्यहाँ सार्वजनिक संस्थानको निजीकरण नै रामवाण त होईन तर सरकारले शक्तिको दुरुपयोग गर्ने सम्भावनालाई कम गर्दै व्यक्तिको उत्प्रेरणालाई बढावा दिन तथा जनताको छनौटको दायरालाई फराकिलो पार्न सार्वजनिक संस्थानको निजीकरण गरिनुको विकल्प छैन । निजीकरण नै एउटा यस्तो विकल्प हो जसले सार्वजनिक संस्थानलाई बढी उत्पादनमूलक तथा प्रतिस्पर्धी बनाउँछ । बजारमा रहिरहनका लागि “गर या मर”को अवस्था रहने भएकोले उनीहरुले आफूलाई गतिशील बनाउँदै लैजान्छन् ।

तर बिडम्वना नेपालमा निजीकरण भएका अधिकांश सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरु कि त बन्द भईसकेका छन् कि त विवादको भुँमरीमा रुमल्लिरहेका छन् । यसो हुनुको प्रमुख कारण निजी क्षेत्रको असफलता नभई निजीकरण गर्दा हस्तान्तरणका बखत पूर्णत ध्वस्त भईसकेका सार्वजनिक संस्थान सुम्पिएकाले हो । निजीकरण बाट अपेक्षित उपलब्धि हाँसिल हुन सकेन भनेर जनमानसमा निजीकरणको विषयप्रति नै नकरात्मक धारणा उब्जाउन खोज्नु सदासर्वदा गलत हो । हेटौँडा कपडा, जसले खास साइज र प्रकार बाहेक अन्य खालका कपडाहरु उत्पादन नै गर्न सक्दैनथ्यो, यस्तो सार्वजनिक संस्थान निजीकरण नगरी अहिले सम्म पनि एकाधिकार प्रदान गरेर राखेकोे भए निजी क्षेत्र कपडा उद्योग प्रति आकर्षित हुने थिएनन् र जनताको छनौटको अवसर कम हुने थियो । के अहिलेको यो अवस्था निजीकरणले ल्याइदिएको होइन र ?

नेपालमा निजीकरणको अवस्था

नेपालमा २०४६ को राजनीतिक परिवर्तन पछि सरकारले अपनाएको खुला र उदार अर्थतन्त्रको कारणले गर्दा सार्वजनिक संस्थानको निजीकरण प्रक्रियालाई तीव्र रुपमा अघि बढाईयो । निजीकरण ऐन, २०५० कार्यान्वयनमा आउनु पूर्व देखिनै निजीकरण प्रक्रिया शुरु भै २०६३ चैत्र मसान्तसम्म देहाय बमोजिम २९ वटा सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको शेयर विक्री, व्यवस्थापन हस्तान्तरण, खारेजी, सम्पत्ति विक्रि तथा अचल सम्पत्ति लिजमा प्रदान गरी निजीकरण कार्य सम्पन्न भयो तर यसपछिका दिनमा निजीकरण प्रक्रियाले मूर्त रुप पाउन सकेन । यसरी विगत लामो समयदेखि निजीकरणको प्रक्रिया रोकिनुमा राजनीतिक स्वार्थ पूर्ति गर्नका लागि नै हो भन्ने कुरा सायदै कमले नबुझेका होलान । बरु निजीकरण गर्दाको पृष्ठभूमिलाई बिर्सेर निजीकरण पछिका असफलताका कथा गुनगुनाउनु र निजीकरण कुनै पनि हालतमा गर्नु हुँदैन भन्दै हिँड्नु लोकप्रिय भयो । सार्वजनिक संस्थानलाई एकाधिकार दिएर पालन पोषण गर्दा कसरी भूमिगत अर्थतन्त्रको विस्तार हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा नाकाबन्दीको समयमा आयाल निगमको एकाधिकारले अर्थतन्त्रमा ल्याएका समस्यावाट थाहा हुन्छ तर यसका विषयमा धेरै निर्णयकर्ताहरु चूपै रहन रुचाउँछन् ।

निजीकरण नै किन ?

निजीकरण बाहेकका सुधारका प्रक्रियाहरुमा स्वामित्व हस्तान्तरण नगरी करदाताकै पैसावाट तलब भत्ताको व्यवस्था गरिन्छ जसले गर्दा कुनै पनि जोखिम लिएर काम गर्नु पर्ने अवस्था रहँदैन । जस्तै, रणनीतिक साझेदारीमा जाँदा अझै पनि सरकारको भूमिका नै हुन्छ तर भूमिका अनुसारको व्यवसायिकता तथा उद्यमशीलता नहुनुका साथै जिम्मेवारी पनि नलिने अहिलेकै प्रवृत्ति कायम हुन्छ । नयाँ व्यवस्थापन ल्याउँदा पनि व्यवस्थापन मात्र हस्तान्तरण हुन्छ तर जोखिम अझै पनि करदातामा नै पर्छ । व्यक्तिगत रुपमा कुनै पनि प्रकारको जोखिम लिने अवस्था सृजना हुँदैन ।

अन्त्यमा,

अत: लोककल्याणकारी राज्यको नाममा सरकार आँफैले व्यवसाय संचालन नगरी व्यवसाय संचालनको लागि सबैलाई बराबर खेल्ने ठाउँ उपलब्ध गराईदिनु पर्दछ । कुनै पनि संस्थानलाई संरक्षण गर्ने भन्दा पनि त्यसलाई बजारसँग प्रतिस्पर्धा गर्न दिनु पर्दछ । प्रतिस्पर्धा गर्न नसक्ने लाई प्राकृतिक मृत्यु हुन दिनुपर्दछ । यसो गर्न सकेमा मात्र सार्वजनिक संस्थानहरुको उत्पादकत्व बृद्धि भई करदाताले तिरेको मूल्यको सम्मान हुन जाने छ । यसको लागि सार्वजनिक संस्थानको निजीकरणको विकल्प छैन । तर निजीकरणबाट बजारमा एकाधिकारको अवस्था भने सृजना हुन दिनुहुँदैन । यसका लागि सरकारले आफ्नो नियमनकारी भूमिकालाई प्रभावकारी बनाउनै पर्दछ र आँफै संस्थान नचलाउँदा निष्पक्ष रुपमा प्रभावकारी नियमन क्षमता अभिवृद्धि हुन सक्छ ।

 

Niranjan

About Niranjan Niroula

He strongly believes in liberal values and individual freedom. He is also interested in analyzing global economic trends and political news.

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Policy Options for Public Enterprises Reform in Nepal: A look at two public enterprises

Samriddhi Foundation has released a new policy analysis paper on Nepal’s Public Enterprises. The policy analysis paper titled “Policy Options for Public Enterprises Reform in Nepal: A look at two public enterprises” is prepared under the banner of NEGA 2014, which is preceded by NEGA 2012 and NEGA 2013. The Nepal Economic Growth Agenda (NEGA), first released in 2012, is an annual effort of Samriddhi Foundation to identify key constraints to Nepal’s economic growth and policy options for reform. NEGA 2012 identified and discussed policy constraints in five growth sectors of Nepal viz. Agriculture, Education, Hydropower, Transport Infrastructure and Tourism. NEGA 2013 focused on six cross-cutting issues viz. Industrial Relations, Contract Enforcement, Anti-Competitive Practices, and Foreign Direct Investment, Public Enterprises, and Regulatory environment for doing business. NEGA 2014 builds on The Foundation’s previous studies on hydropower, industrial relations and public enterprises. Of the three study reports produced under NEGA 2014, this study on public enterprises proposes policy options for reform of public enterprises through two case studies of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Hetauda Cement Industry Limited (HICL). This policy analysis paper has been prepared in consultation with individuals and groups who are experts in the area or are involved in the mentioned organizations.

This policy analysis paper takes a look at two of the thirty six existing public enterprises in Nepal to propose concrete policy options for reform. Both NAC and HICL have been facing high cumulative losses and presence of unfunded liabilities due to operational inefficiencies and other problems. This paper analyses the poor performance of public enterprises from a policy perspective with an aim of identifying practical reform options and these reform options are mainly focused on improving the organizational efficiency either by bringing changes in the current working modality or by introducing a new modality based on a cost benefit analysis. The larger objective of conducting such analysis on two loss making PEs is to pave way for similar analysis of other public enterprises which are increasingly becoming a burden on taxpayers and consumers.

The paper can be downloaded here.

Sarita Sapkota

About Sarita Sapkota

Ms. Sapkota is the Coordinator of Communication and Development at Samriddhi Foundation and was previously engaged with the Foundation as a Research Associate for more than three years. She is a graduate of political science and also contributes articles for Samriddhi's column at The Himalayan Times' Perspectives supplement.

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Re-thinking Public Enterprises in Nepal

When public enterprises were first introduced in Nepal during late fifties and early sixties the scenario was quiet different from what it is now.  The presence of private sector in the market was negligible and thus it made sense for the government to take control of the economy and establish several public enterprises. The government, in order to fulfill its duty of serving the people along with providing them essential goods and services, established one enterprise after other. The rate of establishment was such that at a point in time there existed 61 public enterprises–from water and food to cement and air services and everything in between–most of them monopolized the sector. Their number has been reduced to 37 today but their return in terms of goods and services to the people and profit-making for the government is questionable.

Almost six decades have passed us by and  instead of improving the services these enterprises have imposed an enormous burden on the taxpayers as well as the government. While the debate on public enterprises continues–some favor putting in more efforts and improving the management while others opt for a complete privatization. While this happens in the backdrop,  we bring to you facts on public enterprises that simply cannot be overlooked or neglected anymore. Since resources (esp. monetary) is already scarce in the country it would not be wrong for us to ask the government to use the resources in productive areas rather than pouring in taxpayers’ hard earned money into ineffective enterprises.

Public Entreprise Infograph

 

Koshish Acharya

About Koshish Acharya

Acharya is a student of social sciences and has been associated with Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation for the last three years.

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HPPCL owes us all

sancho-550x550Established in 1981 by Government of Nepal with an objective of utilizing the immense range of herbs found in the country while also creating employment, Herbs Production & Processing Co. Ltd. (HPPCL) is well known among consumers for the production of Sancho, a herbal oil used for curing common cold, cough, rheumatism, fatigue, body ache, headache, neuralgia, sprain, and itching.

Annual Performance Review of Public Enterprises, 2070 published by Ministry of Finance indicates that HPPLC has a net worth of negative NRs. 1494.95 lakhs. Similarly it owes the government a total of NRs. 6421.06 lakhs as loan. The enterprise employs a total of 204 staffs and has unfunded liability of employees benefit worth NRs. 1035.76 lakhs. HPPLC has been unable to perform financially since its establishment for various reasons and has accumulated cumulative loss of NRs. 1775.26 lakhs until the year 2068/69. It also incurred a loss of NRs. 393.37 lakhs in 2068/69.

Recent news published in a national daily indicates that HPPLC is planning to sell off its property to pay its employees’ salaries. The Ministry of Finance has given it the permission to sell off the land on conditions that employees are to be laid off and commercial production is to be started. The Head of Privatization Cell in the ministry, Mr. Bashudev Sharma is skeptic of the whole idea and believes the enterprise can only perform post privatization.

While HPPLC, Ministry of Finance, and the Privatization cell all have their own agendas, the most important stakeholders i.e. the citizens are completely sidelined and forgotten. Since government and other government institutions are the major shareholders of the enterprise, it directly or indirectly implies that “we the people” own HPPLC and it is us who are losing our hard earned (taxed) money to an inefficient enterprise which essentially sells us products that private players are selling more effectively.  Sancho and other products that HPPLC produces are not even essentials like petroleum and electricity. Then the question arises as to why the government needs to play “god” and poke its nose in every other business.

The intentions of the government were well and good during the 50’s and 60’s when the private sector was not contributing much to the economy. With time and with changes in the system we have experienced a growing private sector capable of producing goods and services for the people at affordable rates while also creating much more employment opportunities than the public sector could possibly imagine.

Most of the public enterprises in Nepal along with HPPLC suffer from the phenomenon that is most encapsulated in the form of “tragedy of the commons”. In simpler terms what belongs to everyone does not belong to anyone. Take for example our own Ratna Park, a governmental park which is free and open for everyone. The park is in a very sorry state while Garden of Dreams, a privately run park where an entry fee is required has been doing way better.

Coming to the point, although the amount of loss incurred by HPPLC when divided among the citizens comes up to being a very small sum adding up losses of all the PEs is a very alarming issue for the taxpaying citizens. The taxpayers neither have the time nor have intentions to question the government on the viability of running HPPLC and other PEs. Keeping tracks of 37 enterprises run by the government is not going to be an important agenda for the taxpayers when they are busy running their own lives and paying taxes to fund government’s businesses. While few of us are concerned we are merely small fishes in a big ocean and such issues raised by concerned citizens like you and me never reaches the concerned authorities and even if they do it does not fall under priority issue when we all are more focused on constitution and politics. They will ignore you once, they will ignore you again and again but they cannot ignore you forever so it is time we ask questions and demand satisfactory answers from the concerned authorities.

Koshish Acharya

About Koshish Acharya

Acharya is a student of social sciences and has been associated with Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation for the last three years.

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Son-ny pays what Daddy earns

sonny pays what daddy earnsFor today’s 20 odd years olds it is all but normal to have daddies who in their own 20s opted for the government jobs—and since the 80s and 90s were pretty much the times when the public enterprises were the ultimate work places, those are what most daddies yearned for—and many got in too. After all, one of the many objectives of such public enterprises was to provide a safe and secure employment to as many young and hardworking individuals as it was possible. There were the monthly salaries, the benefits and all the perks that anyone would want for their sons or sons-in-law (for that matter). And so, these enterprises pushed on year in and year out. These enterprises pushed on in terms of meeting their glorified social goal of employing as many people and working for the greater good of the people. They pushed on despite the odds, might I say.

Out of the 37 public enterprises that are still existent today most are plagued with the inadequacies that public enterprises seem to be characterized by; inefficiency, corruption, over-staffing to name a few. Though a couple of them run in profits, the truth remains that majority of these public enterprises are neck-deep in debt. The government, year in and year out, continues to bail out there enterprises—pay the staff salaries, run the management costs etc. Come to think of it, the simple fact remains that all that bailing out, all that injecting of funds comes from a source—our pockets, the taxes we all pay.

Why do I call the write-up a sonny and daddy thing you ask and I have a simple answer. Where the employment patterns of the two generations come to collide can be two-fold: one in terms of the thought pattern—while the daddy-generation thought government job was the way forth the sonny generation more so holds a belief that entrepreneurship and self-employment is the way forth. The second point of collision being—while the daddy generation are living on their perky salaries from government funds the son-ny generation are bound to put their hard earned money into the government pockets (a fraction of it to reach the daddies!).

Entrepreneurship has been the buzz word these days and as people are moving away from work-for-somebody-else model and have taken to trying, innovating things we need to not let this culture wane. This emblem of the new generation that seeks for renewed growth and prosperity needs, to the very least, be encouraged to grow and not cheat on taxes (which the current no-incentive-for-growth model encourages budding entrepreneurs to do).

On an ending note, the sonny and daddy example does not mean to incite any disregard towards the daughter and mommy duo and has been used just as a point of reference—no offence!

Anita Krishnan

About Anita Krishnan

Krishnan holds dual degrees--in law and sociology. Currently, she works as a Research Associate at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation.

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