Its officials are playing hookey and to discipline the lot, the Ministry of External Affairs now has in place monitors, or “punctuality officers”, their official name.
Each division now has an officer, not below the rank of under secretary, to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the staff.
Some officers have been staying away from work without any leave being deducted from their accounts, a note issued by the ministry says.
“The prescribed hours of work are routinely being flouted by numerous officials,” the note says. The leave accounts are not maintained in many sections and there has been a general deterioration in punctuality among officials.
Among the “corrective steps” — first of there kind — taken to deal with the “seriousness of the problem”, each division has designated a punctuality officer.
The officer’s job: to keep a close “personal watch on punctuality and attendance” and submit a quarterly report to the department head. The report should specifically highlight instances of non-compliance of the guidelines.
“It may be conveyed to all the officials of the division that repeated lapses on punctuality and attendance will be viewed seriously and will also be a factor in making posting decisions,” it says. All sections have also been instructed to cooperate during surprise checks.