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More than 30% govt staff clocked in before time on New Year

The year 2015 may have begun well for the Narendra Modi government, at least in terms of attendance of its employees.

On the New Year’s day, over half the government officials (56 per cent) reached office between 9 and 10 am and more than one-fourth (31.6 per cent) of the total registered staff was in office even before the start time of 9 am, according to the dashboard of the Central government’s Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system.  

Launched in September 2014, it was one of the first key administrative reforms introduced by the NDA government to monitor attendance across government offices.

The system displays the in and out time of 47,000 government employees on a portal which can be accessed publically and in real time.

However, despite the initial resistance from the bureaucracy and the clerical staff about its effectiveness in increasing ‘productivity’, the project actually may be aiding in curtailing absenteeism.

Aadhar-based biometric attendance system launched September 2014
47,000 govt employees across 382 organisations covered currently
Average stay time up by 20 minutes a day. This implies additional workforce of 1,900 employees a day
Govt exploring flexi-timing in govt offices certain cases
Average ‘in-time’ is 9.28 am; out-time 5.46 pm since launch of system
Average presence of employees expected to go up by 15-20 minutes a day when biometric attendance becomes mandatory

Since the launch of the system three months ago, employees’ average stay time in office is believed to have risen by about 20 minutes a day. This means an approximate gain of 16,000 man-hours and equivalent to an additional workforce of almost 1,900 employees every single day, government sources claimed. The calculation is based on the number of employees using the biometric attendance system currently.

The critics of the system had argued earlier that coming early to office does not necessarily translate into more work plus the system was taking away their flexibility. Perhaps, taking heed to that concern, the government is exploring the idea of introducing flexi-timing in government offices in certain cases, on the lines of the private sector. According to sources, this is meant towards increasing productivity in the government without reducing the number of work hours. The biometric based system is in fact, better placed to implement and track flexi-timing much more effectively, compared to the manual system of the past.

However, no decision has been taken on introducing flexi-timing in government offices yet.     

But, the system surely has ensured that a significant number of employees are in office on time. The dashboard revealed on January 1 that only about 8.2 per cent of the officials checked in to office an hour late–between 10 and 11 am–while a small number — the remaining 5 per cent came after 11 am, sources said.

During the three months, the average ‘in-time’ was 9.28 am and out-time was 5.46 pm. Currently, ministries and departments of the government have a 9 am to 5.30 pm day, while attached or subordinate offices work from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

According to a government representative, the average presence of employees is expected to go up a further 15 to 20 minutes per day when biometric attendance becomes mandatory. A total of 382 organisations and 47,000 employees are using the system now, and it is expected to cover all government offices in the near future.

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