Alternate employment

Mahmudur Rahman | Published: September 03, 2018 21:22:44 | Updated: September 04, 2018 21:04:11

In structured societies the concept of alternate employment used to be reserved for students and those between jobs. Inflation, soaring costs of living and pay rises in dissonance with those costs have resulted in some institutionalised jobs no longer being enough to run families in the west. The numbers of policemen looking for a second job after work is increasing in the UK at the cost of work-life balance. Nursing and caregiving don't attract numbers as they used to with heart-wrenching stories of want forcing prioritisation between heating and an extra meal. This the outcome of Conservative policies of reducing the fiscal debt.

The balance between pay and costs crossed thresholds the wrong way long before in Bangladesh  and unlike the UK police that must seek permission to ensure there are no conflicts of interest in their second vocation, the local able just get involved. Times evolve and the traffic snarls have given rise to the Uber and Pathao services allowing persons in second jobs. To the government's credit public sector pay has increased, never enough to meet costs but to reduce the ever yawning gap between pay and what extra income brings in. In a social structure such as ours students do private tuition as well as part-time jobs contributing essentially to a black economy. Black has been provided institutional form through fees paid to coaching centres and cyber cafes that also provide technical help. Some of it infringes child labour laws but social conscience takes a back seat mainly to the contribution these youngsters make to the family income. Of note are the helpers on buses and waiters at roadside tea shops. Perhaps the community-driven programmes scattered around the country could be better organised for these children most of whom find their vocations self consuming disallowing any meaningful progress in life or education. College and University students are finding employment in superstores and outlets.

When it comes to those charged with enforcing law and order and discipline, their pay and allowances are such that lead to corruption doubly enforced by the inability to take action unless authorised from the top. On such a score the percentage that will go to them from the fines such as that collected during the recent traffic drive sounds big but when divided doesn't come to much individually. At times their hours are painful and the process doesn't really allow for alternate employment.

The government's drive is for a balance between labour-intensive and advanced technology-using industries. An ideal situation but no substitute for making agriculture profitable and sustainable. The old ways are causing farming to be less attractive yet Thailand and Myanmar are fast becoming grain centres. A combination of technology, subsidy and competitiveness has to be evolved to ensure opportunities of employment grow at rates proportionate to the output of labour available.


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