The Mandatory NE Stint - G Plus

Sunday, 24 January 2021



The Mandatory NE Stint

Swapnil Bharali | August 17, 2019 14:39 hrs

While it can be safely assumed that the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir is on the track of development with the abrogation of Article 370, the union government can now offer its undivided attention to overhaul the northeast and bring it at par with the rest of the country. One area that needs attention is the existing industrial operations of the PSUs and its service policies which may be given a relook and thereafter suitably altered.

For long, PSUs that have presence in the NE - like the oil companies in both drilling and refining - have been managed by engineers and administrators who are not from this region. Can’t help it as qualified personnel are not exactly available dime a dozen locally. But a certain service policy states that it is mandatory for engineers and administrators working in such PSUs to serve a three-year stint in the northeast. 

I have always wondered about the intent of this rule and whether its purpose is to upgrade the quality of the local human resources through their interactions with these more “qualified” engineers. If that is so, the purpose of the intent has not been served; such people take the three-year stint as a punishment posting which cannot be avoided. And so, rather than “serve” the region, they treat it as a fiefdom to throw their weight around, exploit and then leave with a sigh of relief. This service rule is usually applicable to the officers in the middle and top management/operations and includes both engineers and administrators. 

Now there is no point blaming an engineer or an administrator from say, upmarket Ahmedabad, who has to come and serve in Nazira (obviously leaving his/her family behind for reasons of children’s education et al) for being apathetic towards the region and taking the mandatory three-year stint as nothing more than a punishment. From the local perception, there is usually no mass resentment about such officers and engineers serving here simply because they are “irreplaceable” locally. The point of concern is if the policy remains the way it is, would it really contribute towards the growth of the region mired with apathy as such professionals are towards this mandatory stint of “punishment?” 

The first step towards NE’s growth would be revising this and other similar policies that may be in existence.

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