GUWAHATI: Around Rs 28,000 crore from the State exchequer goes to employees’ salaries and former employees’ pensions annually. This is a whopping 28 per cent of the total annual budget allocation of the State. And all these money come from taxpayers. The State has around 5 lakh employees. What’s however bizarre is that to keep an eye on the attendance of this huge workforce no scientific device is installed in the offices. Even now the age-old manual practice of signing the attendance register in front of the Borbabu (superintendant) has all along been carried forward. When science has given us error-free attendance devices like biometric punching machines, all offices of the State government, including its nerve centre Janata Bhawan, have been sticking to the system of attendance registers. A section of borbabus may be strict to some and lenient to some others. If this is not the case, how come some employees come to their offices right in the State Secretariat till 12 noon when the office hours begin at 9.30 am?
What’s even more shocking is that by not installing electronic punching devices in its offices, the State government is directly violating an important recommendation of the seventh Pay Commission. In no uncertain terms, the seventh Pay Commission recommended installation of biometric punching machines in all offices under the State government. Such a leniency on the part of the government lets a section of employees escape a number of strictures mentioned in office rules.
According to rules, if an employee comes 30 minutes late for three days he/she will have to lose one of his casual leaves, and if an employee comes to office at 12 noon and leaves at 2 pm, he/she will have to take half-day leave. However, in the absence of any scientific device for maintaining office attendance timings of employees, how can the authority follow such rules strictly? The leniency factor among the Borbabus is an open secret.
The ultimate victims of such a rot in the State administration are taxpayers who have to go to offices only to come back bemused without getting their works done.
Vocal on work culture, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has fixed office timing from 9.30 am. In the absence of any scientific devices to keep accurate arrival and departure timings of officials, will his fixture serve the purpose? Why is the government lenient on the issue of biometric punching devices for employees?
A biometric punching device was installed at a block of the State Secretariat sometime back only to remove it following protests from the employees.
The SAKP (Sadou Asam Karmachari Parishad), on the other hand, says that if at all biometric punching devices are installed in offices, they should be meant for all – right from the principal secretary to the fourth grade employees.