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Biometric attendance system has many takers in Govt departments

india Updated: Oct 12, 2009 14:33 IST
Aloke Tikku

Don't be late to work! The biometric attendance system may be closer home than most government officials expected.

The Ministry of Home Affairs attendance system is just a month old but it has already won itself a bunch of admirers. Several government departments are hoping to emulate Home Minister P Chidambaram's project to get the bureaucracy to report on time.

Chidambaram had introduced the attendance system last month that requires all officials to place their finger on the fingerprint scanner to mark the time when they reach office, and when they leave in the evening.

A review of the results this week indicated over 90 per cent of the subordinate staff and 70 per cent of junior officers were in office by 9.05 am. According to one account, the figure for senior officers wasn't as impressive but officials pointed that some of them were also the last ones to leave.

Home Ministry officials associated with installing the system said they had been receiving requests from several places including the Railway Ministry and Himachal Pradesh government for sharing their experiences on the new system.

"Some departments said they intended to move proposals within their respective departments for a similar system, others wanted to explore the possibility," he said.

"We too have been receiving many inquiries from government departments," said Pawan Kaul, Business Associate at Fortuna Impex Pte Ltd, the private company that manufactures the biometric authentication system installed at the home ministry.

Kaul named ministries of railways, coal, fertilizers and chemicals and finance as some of the ministries which had contacted the firm to understand how the system would work.

"We have made presentations at different levels, at this stage to familiarise them so that they can arrive at a firm decision," he said.

Besides "abundant cooperation" from MHA officials, Kaul suggested one key reason for the success of the system was Chidambaram's decision to mark his attendance on the same system.

In this, the home minister was following a basic management principle that resistance to a new system would be minimal if there are not deviations, or exceptions.