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Day 39 – Q 2. Should public servants be given extra salaries for the additional hours of duty being rendered at the time of COVID-19? Share your views. 

  • IASbaba
  • July 24, 2020
  • 0
Ethics Theory, GS 4, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. Should public servants be given extra salaries for the additional hours of duty being rendered at the time of COVID-19? Share your views. 

क्या लोक सेवकों को COVID-19 के समय प्रदान किए जाने वाले अतिरिक्त घंटों के लिए अतिरिक्त वेतन दिया जाना चाहिए? अपने विचार साझा करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to put forward their views whether public servants be given extra salaries for their additional hours of duty being rendered at the time of COVID-19.

Introduction:

COVID-19 pandemic has altered the set world order and forced almost everyone to change their way of life. However, for many of the people COVID-19 not just forced them to change their occupational approach but it increased their amount of work; resulted in increased work hours, more risk of life while handling the job, increased amount of stress etc. 

Body: 

Public servants & Health professionals are the more risk exposed persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the amount of work load increased some sections of society argued to compensate them by giving  extra salaries, while some opposed to it.

Extra salaries to Publics servants :

  • While risking their own life and their families lives, public servants are the frontline professionals who are striving hard to contain the spread and neutralize the effect of COVID-19.
  • They are the ones who are dealing with the unprecedented situation, and trying to find a way out through this threat.
  • Also, as we have noticed that their working hours are increased but nothing has been said about their salaries or extra allowances. Hence, it unjustifiable that somebody like public servants are working more and getting paid less for their extra hours of work.
  • Overburdened public servants workforce is facing enormous amount of stress and sometimes it has also faced the wrath of public anger due to spread of misinformation in the society. For instance, In Maharashtra Police personnel and Health officials had to face stone pelting situation when they went for a check up drive in  a village.
  • At the same time they are also dealing with the lack of infrastructural problems and trying to find a way out through innovative solutions. e.g. Public servants in some of the districts have came up with new ideas to bring back the daily life of citizens such as odd even scheme to start the market, creating innovative advertisements etc.
  • Hard Work & Commitment: To accomplish and outclass in any task an IAS Officer should be a hard worker and committed to his/her duty. Which can be seen from the exemplary service shown by top Odisha cadre IAS officer and state health secretary, Nikunja Dhal who returned to duty within 24 hours of his father’s death. It emphasise his commitment to duty.
  • In this COVID-19 Pandemic situation where the administrative machineries and health infrastructure are overburdened by the work, District collectors and Health officers are showing their decisive & resilient approach.
  • A major chunk of the population of the country is currently practising isolation and is working from home, or not working at all. During such a time, IAS officer and Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation Commissioner (GVMC) G Srijana, returned to work just 22 days after giving birth to a child, cutting short her maternity break. This act of dedication by IAS officer G Srijana gives a lesson by showing the importance of handling such huge responsibility.
  • Many of the public servants are failing prey to psychological ailments following the traumatic stress and it has raised their safety issue where they also have to maintain their familial relations.

Hence, we can say that Public servants are not just working for extra hours but they are also showing exemplary courage while doing their duty. Despite their courageous work, some of the societies strata is against the extra salaries for the additional hours of duty.

  • It is the prime most argument that they are doing their duty and nothing more than that, as many of the private sector personnel work extra hours and don’t get paid for it.
  • It is a general perception developed in the society that every public servant is corrupt and is wealthy enough to sustain in this situation.
  • Current economic state of the country is weak, and in this pandemic like situation if we pay more to them, it will have negative impact on the economic condition of the government.
  • In the crisis like moment one better practise is observed, where Kerala and Maharashtra governments have cut their ministers and public servants salaries to divert the saved money to invest in building critical infrastructure. If this approach is used in Kerala and Maharashtra then why can’t it be adapted  all over the country.

Currently in Delhi-NCR over a quarter of the populations is affected by COVID-19, it shows the grim reality of the situation where out of ~2.1 crores of population nearly 50 lakhs showed antibodies presence. This shows the sheer scale of the pandemic. Our public servants are handling this level of critical situation hence, they do really deserve to be paid extra for their extra hours of work during COVID-19. 

At the same time some innovative approaches also needs to be used to help the public servants.

  • An NGO in Nagpur organised an online talent presentation show for Police personnel to reduce their stress.
  • Recently,  a school going girl from Maharashtra has written a letter of appreciation to the police personnel for their service. This small act of gratitude has helped to boost the  morale of the police personnel.  

Conclusion:

As we all know that COVID-19 has put different challenges in front of the world, where public servants are striving hard to tackle all hands on decks. An act of giving extra salary will not just help to encourage them to do better work but also it will help to end this COVID-19 pandemic as early as possible.

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