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Agriculture Department Opposes Government Decision on Outsourcing; Wants Employees Back

The department is facing staff crunch as its employees were redeployed to LSG institutions as part of decentralisation of power

Published: 08th December 2013 07:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2013 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

The government decision to outsource a part of the work of the Agriculture Department, mostly related to financial transactions, has raised the hackles of the ministerial staff who want employees posted elsewhere to be deployed back.

 The department is facing shortage of hands because its employees, along with that of other major government departments, were redeployed to Local Self Government institutions as part of decentralisation of power. A total of 1,302 employees were redeployed from various departments and the majority of them -- 337 employees -- are from the Agriculture Department.

Kerala Agriculture Ministerial Staff Association state president George Mathew said financial assistance to farmers from the Agriculture Department is distributed through banks. Due to staff shortage, the department has decided to outsource the work of financial transactions.

“At present, there are only two employees at block-level agriculture offices to handle agricultural schemes and other activities of farmers in seven panchayats. Though in principle, Krishi Bhavans have been handed over to the local bodies, fund transaction is being done from the government to local bodies. The local bodies, in turn, will hand over the fund to the Agriculture Department for disbursement to farmers,” George Mathew said.

 The department had taken a decision to outsource DTP works of the Krishi Bhavans and the offices of the Assistant Director of Agriculture, by engaging one person on daily wages for not more than 10 days a month.

The rate of remuneration is `350 a day and the total amount allotted for the purpose was `7.88 lakh. George Mathew alleged that only a small amount was allotted in the initial stage to avoid any kind of protest from the ministerial staff.

This might be the first instalment and it is estimated that the total cost for the outsourcing work would come to around `9 crore, he said.

 “If the staff of the Agriculture Department are brought back from local bodies, the government can save the extra amount sanctioned for it. This was brought to the notice of ministers and the department head concerned but no action was taken in this regard,” he alleged. A number of new schemes -- multiple crop insurance, agriculture pension, green coconut collection -- have been introduced after redeployment of employees.

 Though the government had announced that it will create new posts for the panchayat department and send back Agriculture Department employees, nothing has happened so far, he said. Agriculture Department Director R Ajith Kumar said the decision to outsource the work was taken by the government.

“The work load of the employees has increased after the redeployment as several new schemes were introduced by the Union and State governments. Employees from the  agriculture department were redeployed when there was shortage of staff at the local bodies’ level. After that, the government has not taken any decision to increase the staff strength of the Department,” he said.



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