Tweet I own a Hero Honda bike and since the time I bought this, it is insured with New India Assurance Company limited (NIA) which is a public sector organization. Every year I get my insurance renewed by visiting their office in wakadewadi, Pune. They never bother to give me any reminder about expiration of my policy (usually private players does that) and so I had to put my own reminder. I never thought to change my insurance provider because going to another provider will again require filling the forms and all mundane stuff and I wanted to avoid that and also till last year my office was at a walking distance to their branch office. Last Friday my mobile reminded me about the expiry of my bike insurance and then I thought of visiting New India Assurance office. I reached office at 10:15 AM and found that office was locked because it was “Mahavir Jayanti” vacation. I was disappointed but then I thought I will visit them again on Monday. On the main gate of office they have painted the office timing as 10 AM to 5:30 PM (Monday to Friday). I took note of that and came back.
On Monday, I traveled all the way in Pune traffic and managed to reach NIA office by 10:15 AM. I was happy that I reached well on time and will get my policy renewed quickly so that I can join my office well within time. To my utter surprise, I saw there were just 3 employees in to the office. Branch manager was also not in. Fortunately the officer who was responsible for renewal of policy had come and so I approached him. He took my “about to expire” insurance policy papers and forwarded the same to another lady on next table. This lady had 2-3 applications kept on her table but she was not processing any of them. She was arranging her table. I asked her to process my request and she told me please go and have a seat and wait for my turn. They had put a sofa in front of manager’s cabin and there is no fan to make you feel comfortable while waiting there in summer days. I came and sat there. Few customers were already waiting there. I started looking here and there and trying to kill (waste) some time. I saw they have put calendars on the wall. One of the calendars was having Mr. B. R. Ambedkar’s photo. Another calendar was for national language “hindi”. I remember once visting branch of a public sector bank. There was a calendar of Mr M K Gandhi and his quote that how precious time is for people and nation and also how important a customer is for an organization. My clock was showing 10:25 AM. By this time few more (2-3) employees had come and were trying to settled down to their tables. Branch manager was still not in. All of sudden I heard my name and ran to the lady who was processing my application. She conveyed me that I need to pay Rs 617/-. I pulled out my wallet to pay that amount but then she gave me back my paper (where Rs 617/- was written) and told me that payment needs to made to the cashier and not to her. She also informed me that cashier is still not in and I should have a seat and wait. I started the most annoying wait seating on the sofa with some other poor customers of NIA. After 10:45 AM, more and more employee started to come and started talking with each other, signing the attendance sheet and arranging the table. I spotted the lady who was supposed to be on cash counter. She was in to the office but still had not gone to her counter. Most importantly, branch manager was not in till that time. I was helpless and so were other customers. We all were getting late to go to our workplace to join duties. At last we started forming a queue in front of vacant cashier counter. Around 11 AM the lady luck smiled and counter opened to receive money. I came with proper change and she took money and directed me to go to other table. On other table one gentleman just had the work to press a button on the keyboard and collect 3 page printouts and hand that over to the customer. He did same for me and directed me to go to the officer in charge for policy renewal. He was the same person who started process earlier. I went to his table and he signed all three pages and directed me to go to another table. I thought perhaps some more process remains after the signing of documents. I approached to the directed table where a person was sitting with a stapler and some empty envelops printed with NIA address. He took all the three printout papers from me and one by one separated original document with duplicate by removing the stuffed carbon paper between them and stapled, folded the original pages to put them in envelop and handover to me. He informed me that I am done with my policy renewal. At last my policy was renewed. I was happily (?) returning from office of NIA by 11:15 AM and while returning I take a look at the branch manager’s cabin. He was still not in to the office.
While riding back to my office I had lots of questions blowing my mind away. Few of them were:
1. If they can’t entertain customer at 10 AM, why do they put working ours from 10 AM?
2. Who was/were responsible for wastage of my time?
3. Why there were having a separate table and separate person sitting to do a single small work in the process of my policy renewal? Like calculating the sum, accepting the money, taking the printout, signing the document, separating the original and duplicate and taking out the carbon paper and folding the signed document in an envelop was done by 5 different individual. Does not this clearly depict hidden unemployment?
4. Where was the Branch manager till 11 AM? If he was on leave, who was the acting manager on that day. In these cases even people are willing to escalate the issues to higher authorities but mostly they themselves will be absconding.
5. Why doesn’t government or responsible authorities desire to improve the functionality of public sector?