Besides causing some disgruntlements, the government’s decision to pay higher allowances to teachers and clinical health workers has not, as claimed, made much impact. At least not in terms of retention or in coercing those who are on extra ordinary leave to return to work.
The government announced that because of the revised salary and allowances, thromde offices are flooded with requests from teachers wanting to cancel their leave and return to work. Except for a case or two, thromde and dzongkhag education officers have not received any such requests. It is too early to see the implications.
This miscommunication or misinformation, is however, not the first time. The prime minister’s state of the nation report stated that the government provided a laptop and a printer each to five private media houses last year when only the procurement process was completed for the equipment.
Either the bureaucrats are providing wrong information to the government or the government is exaggerating the facts. Either ways, the people are being misinformed.
Our civil and public servants have been reminded to step up to their responsibilities and to work closely with the government of the day. As custodians of facts and figures, misleading the government with wrong information is a grave concern. The government, who has as much access to the facts, cannot make claims to justify or support its decisions.
We are seeing these developments at a time when we are worrying about misinformation spread online through social media platforms. If government agencies and leaders misinform the people, they lose credibility. Providing people with correct information on priorities, programmes and activities contributes to government legitimacy.
The media will play its role of verifying the claims and to tell the truth, but what these recent cases show is the lack of coordination and communication in our officialdom. The12th Plan stresses on the triple ‘C’ mechanism of coordination, collaboration and consolidation. Communication is critical in ensuring these triple Cs happen seamlessly. While institutional culture often shapes a government’s approach to communication, often, governments do not realise that communication, within the government and with the people is part of their job and crucial to their functioning.
How they communicate matters as much as what they communicate. The recent spat between the government and the opposition is one such example where an opportunity to inform people with correct information so that they could take informed decisions was lost.