| Cases in rural management 5 - Institute of Rural Management - India |
Rajeev Kapoor was an Area Officer in the Patala District Milk Producers Co-op Union(PDMPCU) in the state of UttarBharat (UB).Like Milk Producers’ Co-operatives in other districts, the Patala Union was a member of the state-level UB MilkProducers’ Co-operative Federation.Early in his work as Area Officer, Kapoor began to be ambivalent about his relationship with his boss, Sharma.Kapoor had begun his work life,after completing post-graduatestudies ineconomics, as a Junior Executivein the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).After two years with NDDB, he moved to the Milk Producers Co-op Union, where he received intensivetraining on the job for six months, after which he was sent to a district as a member of the spearhead team.After two years there, he was transferred to Patala district as AreaOfficer.
In his new position, Kapoor had eight supervisors to assist him.In addition to overseeing their work with the societies, hisresponsibilities included organisingnew societies, reviving sick ones, and communicating to the Procurement and Input (P & I) Manager of the Union in case of any major problem.He reported to the P & I Manager,Sharma, a veterinarian.
Sharmahad worked for about ten years in the UB Dairy Development Corporation, a state government undertaking, before moving to the PDMPCU one year back to take up his first non-government job.At that time he attended a six-week training programme in P & I at NDDB.He had three area officers working under his jurisdiction in the district, ofwhom Kapoor was one.
Patala was a prosperous agricultural district.Farmers were generally considered very progressive, ready to adopt better farm practices.They had shown interest in improving the quality of
Prepared by Professor D Nagabrahmam, Institute of Rural Management, Anand.
Case material of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand, is prepared as abasis for class discussion. Cases are not designed to present illustrations of either correct or incorrect handling of administrative situations.
(c)Institute of Rural Management, Anand 388 001, India, 1991 milchanimals through practices such as artificial insemination and balanced cattlefeed.
Once a month the P&I personnel—Supervisors, Area Officers, and P&I Manager—met theGeneralManager of the Union to review the previous month’s activities, take action on pendingissues, and plan for the coming month.During one such meeting, on 15th January, the issue of payment to farmers was raised by all three Area Officers.They said that until recently milk had been paid for regularly every ten days, but the last two instalments were pending.Farmers were complaining about the delay.
During the discussion, Kapoor brought up the issue of cattlefeed.He said that cattlefeed had not been supplied to societies by the Union in the past two months.There was a demand for about 32,000 bags per month."Why don’t we get the cattlefeed from Marketing Federation (Mark Fed#) of Uttar Bharat and supply it to all our societies?"he suggested.Immediately the General Manager asked Sharma, "What did you do with the letter I marked to you regarding the concession offered by MarkFed on cattlefeed?"
Sharma disclaimed any knowledge of the letter, saying he had never received such a missive.The General Manager then asked him to trace the letter somehow and discuss the matter with Kapoor and decide about the cattlefeed purchase.
On 22nd January, Kapoor found the letter in one of Sharma’s files.After looking at it, Sharma said,"What is the big thing about the concession? They just offered Rs.1.25/- per bag."To that, Kapoor responded, "Overall, we will make a saving of about Rs.40,000/- per month.Sir, would it not be a substantialsaving?And on top of it,Mark Fed gives us one month credit."He went on to point out that itwould extricate the Union from its current financial problems.
Sharma replied thatthe purchase order had to go to the State Federation beforethe Union could get the supplies, even though the Union would pay Mark Fed directly.After some furtherdiscussion, Sharma agreed to telephone the Federation for advice.
Mark Fed was a large state-levelgovernment co-operativeundertaking dealing with inputsand outputs for the agricultural sector.Italso manufactured cattlefeedand distributed it.
Kapoor wasaway in the field on 23rd January. When he returned on the 24th, he was informed that a Manager fromthe State Federationwould be visiting one of the societies along with an officer from NDDB.The following day Kapoor, Sharma, the Manager from the Federation, and the NDDB Officer visited a society without advance notice.They found a 12 year old boy busy testing the fat content of the milk.The boy became nervous seeing the officials.The Federation Manager did not approve this practice and tookKapoor to task, actually shouting at him, in front of many members of the society.Kapoor attempted to explain that it was very difficult to find competent workers in the district who were willingto accept such low-paying assignments.Consequently,many societies had resorted to hiring young boys and training them.Kapoor also asserted that the boywas competent.To no avail.The Manager brushed aside the explanation.He also did notapprove the appointment of a graduateas secretary of the society, since he thought such a person would be on the lookout for a better job and would leave as soon as he found one."You should get a matric or tenth standard person; then he would stick to the job,"he advised.
Meanwhile, the members assembled there complained about the lack of supply of cattlefeed.Turning to Kapoor, the Federation Manager inquired, "What is the problem in supplying cattlefeed?"Kapoor told him he had no stock and was awaiting supplies from the Federation.The Manager replied that he had never received any request from the Union and added, "How am I supposed to know your requirements?"
Sharma, standing next to the Manager, intervened, saying, "Sir, in fact we have tried to contact you several times in the past few weeks but you were busysomewhere else."
January 24th was a holiday.On the 25th Kapoor asked Sharma about the cattlefeed purchase.Sharma told him that the Federation’smanager had just left and might have not yet reached his office.He added, "You know that today is the last day of getting the concession."
Takenaback, Kapoor exclaimed, "Sir, why did not you get the necessary permission from theFederation’smanager when he was here?Then we could have contacted Mark Fed immediately."
Receiving no reply to his outburst, Kapoor trudged back to his own office, wondering whether there was anything heshould do now.