In a recently introduced practice in industries and large business establishments employing a virtual army of employees in some countries of the western world as well as in India, particularly multinational companies known for their fat pay cheques, a considerable number of staff have been sent home, the measure ostensibly to cut operating costs and increase margins has come to be described briefly as giving the pink slip. The irony is that the colour pink connotes happy feelings as in the phrase in the pink of health. The managements of the establishments flaunting the pink slip before the hapless staff expect to be in the pink of economic health, unfazed by pushing their loyal employees into a dire economic plight in the process. Their slogan appears to be chiming the famous line all is fair in war and love. Maybe, the pink slip is seen at its giving end as a soft way of getting rid of dead wood in the establishment.
Government employees are a happy lot given the broadly undefined T & C (terms and conditions) that go with their service from day one to the day terminating either due to superannuation or the unfortunate event of departing before retirement. Not rubbing the superior officer on the wrong side is the name of the game for an uneventful journey of service in the government what with all the familiar perks that accrue automatically.
While the employees of the industry and business establishments are rated on the strength of their efficiency without the least compromise on quality of their work output, the government employees are rated mainly on the strength of seniority with the added Constitutional provision of some well-marked sections enjoying preferential opportunities both at the stage of recruitment and during upward movement in the hierarchy. The more resourceful employees in the government are the envy of the other kind being adept in manoeuvring the rules on the principle of show-me-the-person-I-will-show-you-the-rule. Maybe the only threat to settled life of the government employee is the feature of regular transfers, not always advantageous.
An unprecedented measure of virtually showing the pink slip to government employees has been reported in the press this week. Government of Uttar Pradesh is screening all employees above 50 years of age and retiring those found unfit for work. The army of babus all over India are sure to defy the measure of staff strength getting slim. People at large are keeping their fingers crossed about which party wins —government or its employees.