Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Sense of Service and the Civil Servant

Can the civil servant ever feel the sense of service that he is supposed to feel in serving the public?

From my modest experience and empirical knowledge, the answers seems to be an emphatic no.

In India the term "Public Servants" implies the way those not in the government (the public)  are viewed - (The) Public (are our) Servants and the two classes of humanity... those in the government, and their servants (the public).

Take the case of the Telecom Sector, MTNL/BSNL the pan-India telecom service providers run by the government.

Granted, there are some technological issues with Landlines with regards to -
1) Last mile connectivity - the copper wire to the home, long turn around times
2) The Analogue signal - No SMS or USSD services,  Prone to static noise

But the problem is exacerbated by the lack of transparency and customer-centricity of these Governmental  service providers.

Unfortunately, they are still stuck in the "Licence Raj" mindset of a couple of decades ago, when they had a monopoly and customers would stand in long queues, braving the hellish heat and rain to be able to communicate via AG Bell's 1876 invention

Till the advent of mobility very recently, this (and the public) served them well, but like Hosni Mubarak, their false sense of security has lulled them into complacency. With heightened competition, from the private sector one would have expected, some form of improvement in ATLEAST the attitude if not the QoS of these National Service Providers.

But that is just not to be, so the exodus continues unabated, with their employee's persistent time-warped perception which I experienced first hand, as I attempted in vain to have my landline rectified.

Winding my way through the maze of red tape and mind-numbing bureaucracy, these "Masters of all the Survey" are not willing to tell you their name, let alone help, or even do their assigned jobs.

It is easy to fool the blind, which is what the public was prior to private enterprise, we didn't know any better, so were satsified... but having experienced superior support from mobile phone companies, the appearance of the landline appears, torn, tattered and disheveled - definitely not something we want hanging around our homes.

This leads me to the much often heard phrase, governments should administrate corporates but Not run corporations.

Granted the government continues to make blustering attempts to improve the efficiency of these bodies (flogging dead horses), currently there are talks of a superfluous attempt to merge them into one entity.

For sure, this government run teleco will survive (thanks to your taxes), but not in the hyper competitivenes of the urban landscape, but on the fringes, the outskirts and inaccessible or economically unfeasible,  remote areas.

The million dollar question is ... how long will these areas remain remote?

End Note -  No wonder MTNL calls it "SURRENDERING" your connection... it's when you give up fighting with them! ROFLOL