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Scrutiny
  
Homing pigeon
P.C’s move could get ‘em truants
24/12/2009

Sample these: In spite of the West Bengal state government’s circular asking all employees to be punctual and to follow the 10 am to 5 pm official working hours, there was hardly any change in the ‘late work culture’ at Kolkata Writers’ Building (the West Bengal Secretariat and Assembly). This state circular also had a clause that made sure that the employees who failed to maintain the schedule would face penal action. According to various reports, most employees still arrive amicably between 11.15 am to 11.30 am and then leave at around 5 pm. Recent reports now also show the obvious, that even our MPs do not attend Parliament sessions regularly (if at all), what to talk about public appearances where they keep masses waiting for hours, if they appear that is.

Chidambaram, despite all the acrimony that he seems to scrape on to his personality, might have hit the truants with the hammer right where it hurts – the finger. In order to counter the problem of late attendances, the Home Minister has introduced bio-metric scanners at the offices of the Home Ministry. Chidambaram announced a few months back that a ten-minute delay three times a month will count as one day of leave. In the first stage of the scheme, 5000 home ministry employees – regardless of rank – will have their index fingers scanned to enable them to be tracked with respect to their attendance time and leaves. On week post the system, the Ministry claimed that 90% of their ‘subordinate staff’ and 70% of ‘junior officers’ were in office by 9.05 am (comparative pre-system figures were not provided; but one assumes it’s an uppish curve). Endgame? Not so fast Wodehouse. One, the system only checks fingers and not whether the person stays in office post ‘fingering’ in his attendance! Two, it won’t be long before an employee takes the equipment to court claiming it malfunctions. Three, vandalism! Still, what would get the cheasel of the weasels is the fact that now even the tax department is thinking of issuing biomentric PAN cards! As Indians would put it quite crassly, attendance was a game for their left hands once upon a time... now their right!

By:- Sray Agarwal
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