Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Census Enumerators still to receive a stipend! – how broke is the state?

The article from which this image was taken stated that 100,000 (yes one hundred thousand) supervisors and 80,000 enumerators will take part in the census. Only in Sri Lanka can we have more supervisors than those who actually do the leg work literally.

The first proper all Island census for the last 30 years was completed less than a month ago. The enumerators picked usually by the Grama Niladari of which there are about 15,000 islandwide, were promised a payment dependent upon the households allocated to them. Usually a GN division has about 750 dwellings and on average about 5 persons would have been given the task, meaning that there are at least 75,000 people islandwide who have NOT been paid. I know the amounts are not massive. Many have other jobs and did this for some pocket money, but still having a bit of extra cash on hand for avurudhu would have been nice. We are talking in the region of Rs 5000 that is about US$40 a person.

Does the establishment have to be reminded of common decency in everything they do? We must add paying for work to the long list which includes being rude, lazy, deliberately evasive and obstructive and downright hostile to this list.

The task was not made easy due to the added information, sometimes intrusive which was required on the census questionnaire. I had to state that I did not have a TV and or music system and only a laptop for the household. Cooking is using firewood in the outhouse kitchen, the LP gas cooker in the pantry is only used to boil the fresh milk in the morning before refrigeration.

I was fortunate that the enumerator came when I was here on the farm in Godagama, as there were not even house number tags in the apartment in Gregory’s Rd let alone an enumerator!

I asked an enumerator I know, about when they expect to be paid, to which the answer was they had no idea. I am sure the submissions are being collated and inspected and some of them may be contacted again to obtain clarification from some households as to the information supplied, however that is no excuse to delay the payment to people who value any additional cash in hand.

I await the outcome of the Census data, to be able to comment on them, as it MAY reveal some surprises. However I do believe the data sheet could have been more comprehensive in being able to gather information of the family members who reside overseas, who fall into two categories, namely those who have gone for a short period, intending to return, many of whom remit funds to their families and the others who have effectively migrated, with little chance of return for permanent settlement who take a resource out, but contribute little in.

I would love to know how my house in Ratmale, Minneriya and the agricultural plot in Raja Ela, Hingurakgoda was classified in the Census data, that is if it was included at all!! Maybe I should contact the enumerators assigned there to find out. What am I classified as primarily, a farmer or a manager of one? Surely not a politician’s helper!

No comments: