So far as related to my office life, I could not complete one task entrusted to me.

Biswanath Bhattacharya

November 17, 2022, 11:06:04   

So far as related to my office life,  I could not complete one task entrusted to me.

Then,  I was posted as Project Director of, the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA)  and the chairman was an IAS officer -a man of total integrity, devotion to duty an exemplary accomplished officer  office and the epitome of personal honesty.

When I joined DRDA, South, I did never take any items with me including mattresses, tables, chairs, household items and nothing. I have often observed if I take these household items from my household, they get mingled up with the official items and sometimes land me to an embarrassing situation. However, after joining I bought all the items following the due procedure required for my quarters.

The Chairman DRDA, casually told me that “ Biswanath, you are in buying spree. I answered, “ Sir, not a single object will go along with me when I leave the quarters- not even the old newspapers.”. He seemed to have been convinced.

Working in the DRDA was a gruelling exercise, if you are not solely devoted and do not have a mind to uplift a lot of the unemployed deserving youths, you are sure to fail. you might have received the salary after month’s end, but you would return with a prick of conscience when he hit the bed if you have it of course.
When I returned home even generally after 2230 hours there were only cats and dogs in the street. But I felt content and could take my dinner to my heart’s content and immediately fell into sleep. I , however, was a latecomer in the office and definitely not before 10:30 AM but my Charmain did not mind it because of the tremendous efforts I used to put in daily.

 I had formed more than 3474 Self Help Groups and they, I believe, now earn decent livings.
And it was because of the trust and belief reposed in me by the Chairman.

One day, this Chairman asked me to do a job which is onerous and beyond my capacity and Jurisdiction too. I was then in the remotest block but as soon as I heard him, I immediately rushed back to my headquarters.

This Chairman appeared not to use the mobile and even now I don’t know his mobile number despite his overflowing seemingly love and affection. And it was beyond my sense of dignity that I would ask for a number that he tries to keep it confidential.

I returned to the Headquarters and was apprised of the task and insisted it is completed by the next 24 hours. I saw the enormity of the task and confided that it was beyond my capacity, however, arduous I  may be.

He said, You have LONG 24 hours in your hand and why should you not endeavour?
I  did put in tremendous effort but could not do the job and till now at the age of 72 years, I am ashamed of my failure. I failed but the Chairman did give me a Gel Pen.

HP gives the Golden Banana award to its best employee. The history of the introduction of the Golden Banana is quite interesting. One key executive was particularly pleased with the job of one employee who did on a special report, and when that employee came to his office, the executive riffled in his desk drawer for something to show his appreciation. What he came up with was the banana for his lunch. Thus, born HP's Golden Banana Award, which is a highly valued honour in the company today. According to Nelson’s survey, a simple thank you note from a superior officer/ management for doing good work goes a long way to motivate an employee.

But most of the good works done by the employees of the Govt. go either unnoticed or misappropriated by the next man in the upper rung in the hierarchy. Nobody cares to give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

And that Chairman was never found wanting in appreciating my honest endeavour.
His faith was so unflinching on me, I was asked by the Chairman ( He was District Magistrate & Collector) to verify and on requirement construct on Cashbook when the Cashier committed suicide due to the supposed embezzlement of the Drawing and Disbursing officer. The DM could have entrusted the job to any Additional District magistrate and collector since by virtue of my post not directly related to District Administration. I obeyed his order and cleaned the mess in 3 days.  

The second incident happened while I worked in the Planning Department. I had a definitive idea of how the Planning Department, a crucial department should work.

It is needless to emphasize that the basic components of any planning process in any department comprise Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading and Controlling.  

According to Peter Drucker, the highly acclaimed Management Guru, “Planning is a continuous process of making present entrepreneurial decisions (risk taking) systematically and with best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions and measuring the result of those decisions against the expectations through organized systematic feedback.” 

Dalton E. McFarland’s definition of planning considers the dynamic nature of the environment. He defines planning as follows: 
“Planning is a concept of executive function that embodies the skills of anticipating, influencing and controlling the nature and direction of change.” 

My suggestions derived strength from both these definitions above.
It has been perceived that Planning is a continuous process of making present entrepreneurial decisions (risk taking) systematically and with the best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing systematically, and I may limit my discussion for the time being to these two aspects alone. 

But what I have felt is that the continuity aspect of the definitions above is conspicuously missing in the Planning department. In the span of two years, I worked under at least 4(four) Secretaries. If the Secretary of the department is not given considerable time to translate their vision continuously and systematically, the mission objective gets completely lost.  The department has also failed to establish its core value and therefore, the mission objective has lost its significance considerably. The mission statement was clearly missing and not clearly pronounced and has not permeated downstream of the hierarchy. 

 But that Commissioner of the Planning Department, though an extremely qualified doctor- passed from the Hopkins  University of Medicine always differed with me on every occasion.

My approach was a Bottom-Up one instead of Top- a Down Approach But he consumed whatever the Chief Minister used to instruct him, one possible measure that the department could think of simultaneously is to impart knowledge to the existing officers through rigorous and vocational training in Agartala itself. The officers may also be enrolled in a distance education programme for MBA or similar degree at the cost of the state exchequer or alternatively they may pursue a professional degree from a "brick-and-mortar" University. There may be some investment for the time being, but the return will be enormous. But this commissioner never cared to tell to the Chief Minister. His position was so low that one Minister in an open meeting advised me to dye/colour his hair. And he silently consumed this heinous insult.

There has not been a single occasion that he tried to tell the Chief Minister that the CM is awry and he was to the point of being a charlatan  Naturally, I could not put with him. One IAS officer told him over his face why he was acting as Courtier to the Chief Minister with rubber stamps behind his back.

The IAS fraternity must have told him that he should be courteous and at the same time, he was to show a bit of his mind when the situation so warrants. Strange are the ways of some Officers.
This commissioner used to call me after 6: 30 PM only to harass me.

I told him over his face that he should not call me after 6 AM. This extra one-hour work that I am doing was gratis.One day he called me at about 6: 45 PM or so. I did not pick up his call.

The next day he summoned me into his chamber and asked me why I did not pick up his call. I told him over his face that it was my phone and I paid for it. And it is me who would whose call I should pick and who I should refuse.

After this occasion, he never called me after 5 PM We should be docile, and loyal. Submissive but at the same time we should have the guts to say NO to some officers!

I was sure of my efficiency and commitment and therefore, I could tell him so.