Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five days' week likely to continue in central offices

 With Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting a hectic pace for his ministers, babudom is abuzz with talk of a possible review of working hours for central government offices as well.

Though department of personnel and training (DoPT) officials on Wednesday said no formal proposal for longer working hours or a return to six-day week had been moved, they felt that given that most ministers were keeping longer hours and also working on Saturdays, senior bureaucrats and other staff may be asked to put in longer hours to assist them.

A DoPT official said debate about the desirability of restructuring the working hours may start if the political leadership so desires.

Political sources, however, said no proposal to extend either working hours or switch to a six-day week has even been mooted so far. It was former PM Rajiv Gandhi who started the five-day week. However, bureaucrats have been making frantic calls to their contacts in DoPT to confirm if reports of a possible corporatization of government departments, complete with longer working hours, were indeed true.

Interestingly, Gujarat government office timings stretch from 10.30 am to 6.10 pm, with the second and fourth Saturdays being off, along with Sundays.

With Modi having given clear directions to his ministers to show results that will set apart the NDA government from the "lacklustre and non-performing" UPA regime, the ministers are already clocking longer hours, setting a time-bound agenda for delivery.

This has made it imperative for secretaries, joint secretaries and their staff to remain in office to assist the minister. Central government offices at present have 40 working hours per week, with Saturday and Sunday being off days.

Source : Times of India

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