The proposal for five-day work week for government employees in Kerala is borne out of financial exigencies rather than any well-thought-out plan to improve administration. As it stands now, the reduction of a work day result in poorer services for the public though there may be gain in terms of governmental expenditure in running the services. So, it would be lesser service to the public at lesser cost.
However, the situation could be qualitatively different if the government contemplates five-day week after efficiently implementing e-governance. Many of the government services could be offered to the citizen at lesser cost on a 24×7 basis if the e-governance system is expanded to cover more and more areas. Then curtailment of a work-day may not affect the public much.
As to the financial problems of the government, it is the governments own creation. It had created more than 15000 new posts in one year, adding to the burden of the exchequer. Considerable sums are being spent for welfare though there is no assurance that it reaches the right hands. Government land is being granted for a pittance to the farmers and the landless and also to influential organisations. Many of these gifts are not justified. This is when it has established schemes and ways for routing welfare assistance. The Government indeed cared for the poor and disabled by raising the welfare and old age pensions which was a welcome measure. However, a casualty of the financial strain faced by the government was the noon meal scheme in schools.
It is high time that the government focused on augmenting revenues from the flouring trade in gold, textiles and hospitality. Special concessions to the IT sector are no more needed. Government could either reduce expenditure or improve efficiencies by routing its subsidies in cash through the banks. It is also worth thinking whether government should maintain cars and drivers for its office or provide them with a car allowance. This, in fact, was one of the recommendations of a expenditure commission appointed by the government. Several such recommendations for austerity have been gathering dust.