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August 2016 No Laughing Matter

Published on: 2016-08-23 17:07:22     1713 times read    0  Comments
Parkinson’s Law and Nepal

--BY MADAN LAMSAL

Come mid-June and there is suddenly a dramatic upsurge in development activities in Nepal. The government becomes generous with its spending. Then the so-called intellectuals start protesting. Yes, it’s true that bulldozers start running on the roads after mid-June in Nepal. Potholes are filled and roads are made smooth and shiny. Even the narrow gallis look cleaner and bigger. The bulldozers are run even on muddy roads; there are also those who mistake the bulldozers for plantation machines and perhaps think that paddy plantation is going on the roads. It’s perhaps alright when some think so after seeing the big machine on muddy roads in the paddy plantation season. However, it’s childish on the part of the so-called well-read intellectuals to protest against the government’s spending spree during mid-June to mid-July without knowing the reasons.

Now, let’s discuss and try to understand the sociological, jurisprudential and management principles of the mid-June spending spree of the government.

First, let’s see the government’s deed through the principles of management. It’s Parkinson’s Law that any task gets completed in the last minute of the time allocated for it. Those who have studied management or Public Administration certainly know about this even if others do not. Our bureaucracy has been successfully implementing this law.

There is also a sociological explanation. In our society, it’s not just the development works that take place in the eleventh hour. Most Nepalis leave everything for the last minute – whether it’s submitting forms to government offices or pay electricity or telephone bills or ceremonial functions like wedding and bratbandha. This means minor as well as major works are completed in haste in the last hour in Nepal. 

Therefore, the fiscal budget, too, should be spent in the last month of the fiscal year, not before. It is not an eastern culture, to be precise the Nepali culture, to make detailed plans and do everything like the foreigners. Our culture is to complete everything in the final moment. Culture is culture; it’s not like agriculture. Therefore, to demand that everything should be completed before time is to launch an ugly conspiracy against our culture.  

Here, people have misunderstood Nepal’s ‘Late culture’ and confused this culture with agriculture. But again, agriculture is at risk due to the ‘plotting vultures’! From where would the ‘working culture’ come to the country? Therefore, preserving Nepal’s ‘late culture’ has become a huge challenge now. 

The ‘late culture’ is perfect for Nepal even from the view of jurisprudence. For example, filing applications and complaints adding more time for investigation at courts take place on the very last day of the available time. If there is a time of 35 days, then this takes place on the 35th day. The first constituent assembly had increased its term by two more years on the last day of the original two-year term, we haven’t forgotten.  

In order to understand this ‘late culture’, one needs to understand the Parkinson’s law completely. According to Cyril Northcote Parkinson, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, any task is completed in the last hour. For example, if we agree to complete a task within seven days, then that task will be completed only on the seventh day, not even a day before. 

This is such a powerful law that it applies to almost everything. This is something that our forefathers have been practicing for ages. So, it’s our duty to preserve this culture. Parkinson’s law applies to the information and technology sector in this way – “Data expands to fill the space available for storage.”

In short, the gist of Parkinson’s law is that if we start to finish any work before time, then it takes more time. And, it becomes difficult as well. But when we do the same work in the last hour, it is achieved easily and in less time. Isn’t it? You yourself decide. For example, the government-funded development work started in September-October gets delayed while the work started after mid-June gets completed in no time?

The former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorvachev said long ago that Parkinson’s law is applicable anywhere and everywhere. He did not say so for nothing. Therefore, we all Nepalis should whole-heartedly support the government’s spending spree that takes place in the final month of the fiscal year. We should be able to reap more and more benefits from Parkinson’s Law.

Therefore, instead of a 12-month fiscal year, let’s have one-month fiscal year. In other words, when one fiscal year has only one month of time, then we can spend all our budget in that one month alone. If a fiscal year of one month is impractical, then let’s have a fiscal year of three or four months and prepare our national budget accordingly. Then you will see the speed of development!


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