As an ‘old entrant’ to the public service, having joined the railway clerical service in May, 1951, I too agree with the views stated by U.G. Rodrigo of Panadura in the Daily News of December 3 under the Citizens’ Mail column.
I too was issued a ‘Blue Book’ which was known as the ‘Service Record Book’ issued under Ref. General 277 in all three languages, in September 1970. This was introduced during the time of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, by Felix Dias Bandaranaike as Minister of Finance and Public Administration.
The full name of employee, Department/Ministry, Pensionable post held by the employee, date of birth, date of appointment to pensionable post, W & O.P. number, the signature of employee, signature of Head of Department.
Daily Paid Service particular, non-pensionable monthly paid service, service in pensionable posts, all salary increments, promotions, transfers etc, family particulars of officers, were some of the personal details, recorded in the ‘Blue Book’.
This book if re-introduced, will come in very handy for officers at the time of their retirement after serving in various Ministries/Departments in various stations, if they are informed by the officers preparing their pension papers that some of their service particulars in their personal files are not up-to-date.
Then, they could produce their ‘Blue Books’ duly authenticated by a staff officer in the respective departments they served.
As we have heard often, some of the personal files are found to be not up-to-date, due to frequent transfer if an officer or due to negligence on the part of some officers who maintained the personal file.
I still have the ‘Blue Book’ issued to me by the department and go through it recalling the happy memories I spent in the Railway Clerical Service for over 35 years. I was 21 plus when I joined the Railway Department on the results of a competitive Central Clerical Examination and a Viva Voce Test, unlike now. We entered Government service through the English medium after having passed the Senior School Certificate (English) Examination.
I wish to quote here from a news item which appeared in the Daily News of December 11, 2006, for the information of our readers what the Public Service was during our time, some years back, and what it is today. To quote:
The ‘Public Service’ which was once the pride of this nation attracted to it at that time the cream of the intelligentsia that schools and universities produced.
They did not enter the portals through family connections or political patronage.
They faced competitive examinations and interviews and their performance and merit alone guaranteed their appointments. Having entered the service they performed their duties with great dedication and efficiency. Efficiency of Sri Lanka’s public service was recognised even by prominent world leaders like Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew.
By LIONEL LEANAGE, Ambalangoda
Source: Daily News