Saturday is supposed to be my off day. But somehow I landed up in my office. I was preparing to submit my self-evaluated IWP for 2017-2018 period. Earlier it was called PE. It is the shortened version for Performance Evaluation. Those were good old days. Irrespective of your output, it wasn’t difficult for any civil servants to achieve 3.9 out of 4.
Coming back to IWP, I was running through files and was trying to recall all the activities I have undertaken in my recent past. At one time I felt lost not because I was indolent, but because I had too much to document in the eleventh hour. Like it or not, today we have system before us, which demands us to spend more time on documentation than working. Few days ago, I informed all my colleagues to submit their IWPs along with evidences and justifications. But few of them looked at me as if I boxed on their face. Interestingly, I have some friends who still think that Max Online system is some kind of exotic snack.
In their past few years, our HRD people in their attempt to simplify things, they have doubly complicated the system. A good reform should come gradually. If it doesn’t benefit, it shouldn’t do any harm. These are basic attributes of a reform. Conversely, most of the reforms before us are rather imposed! Overall, it did more harm than good. So called the moderation exercises and forced ranking created rift between colleagues. In the first ever moderation exercise, there were news of brawling chiefs. It could be a joke but I heard how some chiefs got hold of each other’s neck. Should anybody fail to follow the reform notifications, they are threatened. Some dreadful notifications said ‘Your promotions would be withheld’ while others said, ‘Individual would be barred from availing training opportunities’.
Amidst countless reforms initiated by present group of HRD experts, I wonder whether there is anything left to be reformed by next set of people who would soon replace them. Some of their reforms are so confusing that you need a brain like whatever to understand them. When they said ‘S’ level officials would get a promotion every 5 years (in place of normal 4 years), the sky fell on thousands of families across the country. Some families are still struggling to recover from the shock of having to lose their precious extra year for a promotion. Affected officials were swift to declare a war of words on the battlegrounds of social media. Sadly, as expected we didn’t see them win. they ought to remember this: 'Bosses always win and are always right'. In the name of developing specialized professionals, people in the education and finance are forever chained in their redundant professions. Some say this is another classic case of breach of Constitution. But for now let the matter rest with legal minds.
Later, a high profile HRD official visited our office to shed light on their well-intended reforms. As expected there weren’t much good news. In a hushed up meeting, poor teachers were briefed by DEOs to keep their mouth shut. But here is what I understood. Those affected officials would draw more benefits when they retire loo. While their good intention cannot be discounted, economically speaking, this is a tragic affair. In the long run we are all dead! Why should we sacrifice our beautiful present for unforeseen bleak future?
If my memory serves us well, this is what happened few years ago. Much talked PCS came with a big bang, but remorsefully, it soon disappeared into the obscurity like a vague echo. We have now system called “Super Structure” (SS) supported by a grand pillar called IWP. Thanks to the grandeur of IWP, in two years we have more perplexed people in civil service than ever. In a desperate attempt to submit his IWP, one colleague of mine rushed in my office. He said, “Sir, my duty is to stand and guard the gate at the indo-Bhutan Border. How should I justify my output?”. After a long pause, when nothing came to my mind I told him to go back and take a good picture of himself standing at the gate and upload it.
I wonder whether IWP is a total invention or a borrowed idea. Whatever it may be, we have a reason to worry about the goodness it will do to our system. May god bless goodly intended SS system and may it bring immeasurable glory to sons and daughters of Pelden Drukpa who put in heart and soul to in service to Tsa-wa-sum.