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Op-Ed

Mystical Nos. 35 and 60, two sides of the same coin

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By EMN Updated: Sep 21, 2014 11:41 pm
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K. Libanthung Patton

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he issue of Retirement Act 2009 re-surfaced few weeks back in local daily papers before it could live even five years, apparently equating the service life of the employees with that of the floating price of potatoes in the markets. And obviously it is already in the scanner of the state government too.
However, barring deplorable few, no frontal employees’ bodies, students’ bodies, intellectuals and NGOs etc. so expected to make a clear stand have maintained silence, so far, so un expectedly. Highly expected by the commoners to be a ‘thinking group of people’, are perhaps on in a second thought, taking its time.If its consequential impact to be felt would be restricted to fraction of employees only, it may well be left to their liberty alone. However, its social widespread ramification will be far and wide beyond a confines of their walls festering all employees, students, unemployed youths and all walks of general public. Hence, a second thought is imperative to budge on with.
The two numbers (35 and 60) have stunningly proved beyond doubt to be the two sides of the same coin, the head and the tail on the other side. Incompleteness of the one without the other, indivisible and inalienable, anything short of it would meant rumbling to a scrap bits of worthless metal, Likewise, the head of a coin without the tail (defaced coin) and vice-versa would be aptly of no use a coin in the market- until and unless she (coin) is re-introduced to her mother (machine) back in Nasik.
As the coin with head and tail is nothing less than the perfect, worthwhile and the best match for the market, so also is the mystical numbers 35 and 60, absolutely suitable for changing and transforming a unique state like Nagaland of this day and age. So herein, I congratulate all ’Naga intelligentsia’ including the NSF, CANSSEA, NCSA and the others who led the pursuit few years ago successfully.
In all honesty, (with due apology to the few but respectable and intellectual Nagas for this laud and elaborate article and also debatable topic) I con not help but to raise a whimper so as not to make this issue- ‘consulting the doctor only after the ailing patient has already passed away.’ It may not be wrong to say that this is one of the most conspicuous of all Naga habits.
The Retirement Act 2009, in force at present is a ‘residue’ of a wide range of public debate and study over a long period of time (years). The ’residue’ has also passed ‘smoke and fire’ test of the hon’ble Supreme Court of India. This being a delicate and highly sensitive issue and in view of widespread bearing on general public life, one may aptly conclude that it is not that kind of kitchenware to be touched then and now.
A notion that, retiring immediately after 35 years of service curtails contribution at their best stage, early retirement lengthens pension paying periods or adverse affects of block retirement at one go etc. seems just an inclined paradox.
If only one has the commitment and ability to contribute, one could have given her/his everything and anything during 35 years, if nothing could have been contributed by then, it will be a terrible mistake to assume that she/he will become a contributor beginning from 36th year onwards. Affects of Intermittent cases of block retirement at one go appears to be a temporary hic-ups compare to manifold advantages of the 35 years limit. Not only the retired or ex-servicemen but also for handicaps, destitute and all aged citizens welfare schemes like, the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, being the latest, pensions of various foams, insurance, housing etc. for a decent sun-set life with dignity is an endeavor of a welfare state like ours. So such things need not be underscored as a threat or a burden by any ‘thinking people’.
National average life expectancy of India as of now is 68.5 years, so half of it is say, 34.3 (Male-67.3 and Female-69.6). So the 35 years of limit appears to be quite reasonable and acceptable if not maximum. If one can remain in office for longer than half of his/her whole life span, what more? or how long is enough?
Those who enter services at the age of 18 stays in office for 42 years but who enters at 35 stays for only 25 years, so the variation in the length of service is 17 years. So if someone can enjoys 17 years longer than the other colleague working under the same government then where is the ‘equality’ the basic and a constitutional right.? Limit in the length of service (35) ensures ‘equality’ to an acceptable/ practical extent, it reduced the variation from 17 years to 10 years. Because, those who enter services between 26 to 35 years (those who are more educated/skilled, executives or creamy layer of employees) will retire only by the superannuation age of 60. However, the 35 (limit) affects only those who enters between 18 to 25 years of age, who are also the less educated/skilled employees, but if 35 ( limit) years is removed, the government will be utilizing the services of those less educated/skilled employees much longer than those more educated/ skilled employees to the total disadvantage of the govt. and the general public.
It seems there are hardly few who cares to pause for a while, to think why there should be a limited term (five years) to remain in ’public offices’ vested with high powers and authorities. It will certainly do more harm than good if the term of offices like, President, PM, MPs, Gov, CMs, Ministers or Heads of other constitutional bodies are without limit or even for 35 years. Its purpose need not be explained further, I suppose. Likewise, offices of govt. employees and staff are ‘public offices’ vested with categories of powers and authorities. Question is, why some few who are expected to be a ’think tanks’ of the govt. could not comprehend and welcome at least a certain/little limit (say, for few years) It appears that those who speaks few words against the limit (35) are speaking volumes and volumes of their inner mind, rather than social-centric whimper.
Rationally speaking it will be cross injustice doing to the senior employees who had already left their chairs. Yesterday, seniors were shown the exit door of the office, then after, when all were gone one by one, but of course unwillingly, their chairs were merely taken over and having seated comfortably, now shouts at someone who has the key to lock the exit door, so much so that his/her over-stay (more than 35 yrs) in office may appear legal on the pretext that exit door of the office is being closed, or in other words, it is, to stay on with ‘legally forged’ extension order.
Then comes the 7th ROP/Central Pay Commission which has already been appointed and to table its report by mid-2015, speculating with enhanced superannuation age from 60 to 62. And if so, in our case, it will come by and large binding. So now, is it really imperative to make haste on this?
My honest intend is to book-mark as much ingredients as possible to enable intellectuals and Naga leaders to offer a blended food to the delight and nourishment of the mass employees and the Nagas in general, to make sure not one grumbles. As such, a particular point of interest need not be underscored as a threat to be reacted with.
Let the perfect coin be continued to be a perfect coin, in the hands of the Nagas, with its Head and Tail, for as surely as a defaced coin (one sided coin) will be of no use a coin. I wish tomorrow, Nagas will not be compelled to travel to Nasik.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 21, 2014 11:41:38 pm