Next time you get caught in a traffic jam because the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) failed to clean up stormwater drains on time before the rainy season, don’t blame the corporation: they are truly short-staffed. Thanks to a brand new biometric attendance system, the MCD has found out they have 22, 853 fake employees on their rolls. A probe revealed that the corporation now has 104,241 employees. The MCD employs people ranging from teachers to cleaners and gardeners in the capital city of 14 million people. Now for the munificence of the municipal corporation: it spends a neat packet (read: taxpayers’ money) — about Rs 17 crore a month and Rs 204 crore per year — to pay these fake employees. But no one is sure for how long this has been going on. So calculate at your own risk.
However, we must thank the municipal corporation chieftains who have been nice enough not to bother us with such minor operational details even as we kept wondering why garbage piles outside our apartment buildings were growing at such an alarming rate. Till the biometric system beeped and gave the story away, the municipal corporation had been in denial mode about this scandal. In true sarkari sytle, an in-depth inquiry has been promised into this incident and a freeze has been ordered on fresh recruitments. However, that should not bother citizens too much. We are used to ‘ghost’ employees because many of us have actually seen very little of them or have been privy to their secret work schedules.
The fake employee case has, however, set us thinking. We, print journalists also run the risk of falling in that ‘ghost’ category: after all, we too exist ‘only on paper.’