NEW DELHI --
After requiring Babus to work harder, longer and
come on time, the Modi government yesterday asked them to file a
return for all their movable and immovable assets assists,
including their wives and dependents every year, reports Swami Anand Kul
Good to hear.....
Vibhor Chhabra at the "Delhi Gymkhana Club" has this to
There aren’t too many people taking long, leisurely
lunches at Delhi Gymkhana Club these days.
And fewer out on the greens at Delhi Golf Club, even
allowing for the blistering summer heat.
Life for Senior government servants has become a little
harder under the Narendra Modi government — they’re expected to
clock in on time, stay late when needed and even give up
holidays, besides cutting out the little pleasures in life such
as lunches at the Delhi Gymkhana and Golf Club.
Employees at a defence ministry office in Delhi were last
week asked to sign up to a notice pledging that they would be in
by 9 am or face disciplinary action.
One habitual latecomer has now taken to leaving home half an
hour earlier as result.
Rakesh Tomar, a bus operator who ferries civil servants
to the Central Secretariat government office complex, has
been asked by the customers to advance bus timings.
Habits are changing. "Earlier, I used to wait at stops.
Now they are already waiting for me," he said.
At 9.00 a.m., outside the bhavans that house the main
government departments, there’s a stream of employees
running in to beat the clock.
Delays can mean getting a piece of the boss’ mind.
At the housing ministry, employees have to report to their
superior if they are late by more than 15 minutes.
Biometric scanners track attendance and regular latecomers
will get a notice after six months.
Many top bureaucrats who used to be habitues of India Habitat
Centre, India International Centre, Delhi Golf Club and Delhi
Gymkhana are no longer in regular attendance.
There also seems to be an unwritten diktat in force that
bureaucrats should not be seen playing golf.
The Delhi Golf Club has about 200 bureaucrats as members.
Many would put in a quick morning round and sometimes,
weather permitting, even in the afternoon during the working
It is said that a list of officers who played golf
regularly was ordered to be compiled.
"They got the message," said a senior bureaucrat.
Officials have also been asked to remove all golfing
equipment from their offices.
Education minister Smriti Irani recently pulled up a
bureaucrat at an office meeting when she saw him fiddling with
his cellphone while discussions were going on.
Many senior officers are working longer hours, especially in
the PMO, who have been in by 8.00 a.m. and are leaving at
"There is no time for oneself and there is so much work to
complete," one PMO official said.
Another official was found complaining that his wife had
to manage a water supply crisis at home on her own as he
needed to get to the office.
Another said he had to cancel a summer vacation in Goa
with his wife and kids, although he seemed to welcome this.
"They hardly get to see me nowadays.
"I am working on weekends, but this culture is good," the
While Modi’s predecessor also put in long hours and officials
in key ministries never really switch off completely under any
dispensation, it’s perhaps for the first time that civil
servants across all government departments are being pushed to
work harder and longer.
Meanwhile, at the finance ministry, officials work long
hours in any case in the weeks before the budget, which is
expected to be announced in July.
"It is certainly required to match the enthusiasm of the
new political set up," said former bureaucrat Ajay Dua, who
was industry secretary before he retired.
"The PM and his ministers want things to be done as there
are a lot of expectations and they need to have all cogs of
the wheel move together at the same pace."
Part of the reason for the change is the need to make Indian
bureaucracy more efficient, having been ranked the worst among
12 Asian countries for more than a decade by the Hong Kong-based
Political & Economic Risk Consultancy.
"We have been told files can’t wait on a table for more
than two days, and an explanation will be sought if a file
isn’t cleared for a week," said a senior government
official, who declined to be named.
The urban development and housing and urban poverty
alleviation ministries under Venkaiah Naidu are going a step
A ‘file movement officer’ will seek to verify which files
are pending, with whom and for what reason.
Officials in the two ministries have been told that an
explanation will be demanded if files aren’t cleared for a
Bureaucrats have also been asked not to depend on orderlies
to move files when clarifications are required.
The minister is encouraging officers to pick up the phone and
talk to colleagues in their own ministries and elsewhere rather
than sending files back and forth with their comments.