The expression doing rounds in the circle of officials of the State Government that the day of retirement, virtually the D-Day as a certainty sounds like an adage. They are a mix of those who look forward, reasonably gleefully, to that happening, some who take it as a fait accompli and the rest dreading the day for diverse reasons. As far as the Government is concerned, the event of retirement, a non-event in reality, being routine, prompts one to cite the line Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever drawn from the poem
The Brook by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) with the message that humans are mortal but nature is eternal, substituting the word humans by the term Government employee and the word nature by Government. The farming fraternity is often referred to as the country’s backbone, but the babudom is all bones of the Government, creating aches and pains to the powers that be during their years of perch in the seats wielding their quill with disdain.
The workforce of the country has its major presence in the unorganised sector, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total and the rest comprising a) Central Government staff (nearly 50 lakh), b) Staff of 36 States and Union Territories (about 100 lakh), c) Employees of Public Sector Undertakings, d) Employees of Corporates, e) Staff of financial institutions and f) Employees of quasi-Government establishments. Only about 20 per cent of the total workforce enter and also exit their respective establishments by following formal process and on precise dates.
Similar to those who take the D-Day in their strides, those who remain in their office of duty comprise two types— one type feeling a sense of parting and the other type unable to hide their glee at the exit of their colleagues. Those who continue in service eagerly await the 10-yearly event of Central Pay Commission’s pay hiking exercise. Those who are home-bound carry the monetised retirement benefits with mixed feelings, particularly pension. According to a report in a section of the press published last week, quoting a Dutch insurance company, Indians are most optimistic about retirement preparedness. Nearly half the number of respondents in the study by the company expressed the view that future generations of retirees will be better off in retirement than current ones.
The years between the day of entry into the world of work life and the day of exit bring memories to the retirees in diverse ways. The finding in the aforementioned study that almost half of retirement income comes from savings and investments, compared to 30 per cent globally has its message of smartly managing the portfolio of income and expenditure during the entry-exit years in work life.