Kick-starter for national prosperity Importance of human resources development
By Ananda Ariyarathne
The potential that rice has in Sri Lanka is that it is the insurance policy for the whole nation as it not only feeds the nation but also can become the currency that could become a source for national stability. By the gradual transformation from its dependency on varieties which have a global demand, it shall create a steady line of Foreign Exchange earnings for the nation. With a possible incentive scheme, rice cultivation can be developed into a steady source of national revenue.
It can be achieved only through a stable solution for the 'labour' required and the possibility of Labour Companies or Societies becoming key factor in filling the vacuum in 'entrepreneurship' which has been the main cause for the under-development we are facing in that sector. The solid foundation provided in the sector justifies itself to be recognized as the solution to the need of a cost factor capable of serving as a very effective Shock Absorber as well as a reliable generator of strength required.
Creatively and therefore profitably employed human resources are the foundation for effective economic productivity which turns 'other factors' into a process that ends with benefits generated. Although the term 'Free Economy' sounds great, it is actually a camouflaged disaster in the making and official recognition therefore needs proper guidelines set by the Government to safeguard the interests of the people. It should not be a camouflaged dogfight in which 'dog eats dog' happens behind the scene.
Some may think that it is an 'over statement' showing that any kind of restrictions shall 'choke the freedom of action.' In that case, there should be no laws as they also limit 'freedoms' and such thinkers should start thinking about the 'un-compromisable' necessity to ensure common benefits to society. It is explained by the 'offences' identified in law. Therefore, it is nothing but right to set limitations for monitoring projects that have gained the capacity to survive within the stipulated framework and for the simple fact that no such efforts shall be curtailed as long as they are logically oriented to protect and preserve nature. As it is a system that upholds the principle of 'Free Enterprise,' it is not something that would destroy the spirit of free economic framework, as a unit formed shall be well within the Legal Framework that becomes applicable as a company or even a Cooperative Society. The difference shall be the absence of the initial capital required, which shall be either a loan from a reputed bank or a guarantee given to such a 'bank'. Also, the other important aspect is that, the functioning of such enterprises shall depend on the 'managerial and administrative' know-how. It is a gap that has to be filled by line agencies of the Government.
Although it has become a common term, it is something which is based more on 'idealism' than on the 'realities.' With the trend of 'privatization' setting in, the opportunities for the Government to get involved in commercial activities are almost non-existent, while State sector Investment is not something that can be anticipated.
The indirect assistance promoted by the Government through line agencies which provide 'training' to cover several activities, supported by easy-loan facilities for activities have very limited scope when it comes to their impact capabilities. Carpentry and Steel fabrication are some examples and the impact of such activities shall be minimum.
The employment possibilities in such are very limited and they leave out very large numbers of needy young people who are not so lucky. The most outstanding feature in the concept of Labour Companies or Societies is the identification of the 'resource' that has potential to generate revenues. It happens that way due to the absence of a 'mechanism' that can serve as the 'links' that can complete the 'jigsaw puzzle.' To understand how that works, we can get an example from the 'Rice Cultivation.'
E.g. the land is there, but other inputs like investment on seed paddy, fertilizers, and labour are not available due to absence of a link to 'bridge the gap.' The ultimate result is that nothing happens. The Labour Company or Society has only the 'labour' and the 'time' and no financial resources or the land. By organizing 'able bodied labour' available under a 'legally recognized' entity, helps in reducing the number of 'factors' needed. Landowner releases his land for cultivation on the condition that the labour company or the society provides labour and time, in anticipation of a 'Crop Share' after harvesting and the major barriers are removed.
Then comes the unavoidable expenditure like seed paddy, fertilizers and pesticides which have a cost component. That is where some kind of 'bridging finance' becomes necessary and 'Government Line Agencies' can come in.
As the Labour available shall not have enough work after the major stages in the process, activities outside rice cultivation include Rubber tapping, Tea Plucking, Cinnamon Peeling and distilling Citronella oil and Cinnamon Oil. The main issue here is the absence of a 'traditional kind of an entrepreneur' who can take on management responsibilities. Human Resources attached to the Labour Company shall gain experience, gradually through on-the-job kind of exposure, and capacity enhancement programmes meant for such categories.
As a project under a concept that is yet to be experienced and proven, such companies or societies cannot be left for fend for themselves, like in the normal cases of support given to 'Self -Employment Projects' we know. This concept, being an organized structure, all the positions are linked to relevant activities and administrative arrangements are applicable. It is a vital aspect that needs priority attention as such a company or a society may be pronounced as 'experienced' only after a period for exposure.'
In this case, it is logical and natural for all Human Resources to be trained on the job under very serious supervision initially, to be relaxed gradually. By employing effective training systems, the capacities of the Human Resources employed can be enhanced. In reality, what would happen is the transformation of 'Unskilled Human Resources' into 'Skilled Human Resources' according to a graduating plan and that way, the Labour Companies or Societies are transformed into self employment based on a Collective basis.
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