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    October 2014



In a much-needed move, the Narendra Modi Government has cracked the whip on bureaucratic lethargy by introducing an Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance system in Central offices and simultaneously launching a website which empowers the common man to keep track of the attendance of public servants. For a country where administration is mired in red tape and bureaucratic processes are often criticized for being slow and unresponsive, the newly launched biometric attendance system represents a paradigm shift in Government work culture. It also represents a remarkable step towards public sector accountability. Our Cover Story reflects the ground scenario and is a reality check on the Government’s effort to make governance more transparent. It also busts the myth that the Aadhaar-linked attendance system is a breach of privacy. No doubt, attendance rates are not magic pills that would instil a sense of responsibility, accountability and belonging in an individual. Nevertheless the move is meant to ensure that public servants actually show up on time and it is at least a step towards a rational and effective work culture in Government offices.  Now one can hope that with the biometric system in place, the proxy attendance culture rampant among Government employees will come to an end. But the Government must remember that just putting the attendance system in place is not enough. The administration also needs diligent monitoring, surprise checks and disciplinary measures if an employee fails to comply with the new system. Also the entire effort would go in vain if one comes on time and clocks the necessary hours without being productive. If the Government really wants to increase productivity, it needs to develop a holistic human resource policy, including a productivity monitoring system. As of now, there is a sign of relief. The country is finally going on the right track and is in good hands. Maybe this is the herald of the acche din.  

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