The Indian Railways has decided to strike down heavily on its over 14-lakh employees. To help identify absentee workers, it has issued a circular that makes it mandatory for supervisors heading departments, to issue certificates stating an employee is present at work in addition to merely approving muster rolls.
This circular was issued by DK Gayen, head of the Human Resources department for the Indian Railways. It mandated that random surprise checks be conducted by inspectors of Personnel department and the sub-departments to review and list the names of unauthorised absentees.
This process will make it easy for every department to review the attendance sheet and filter out employees, who have been benefitting from proxy marking on the muster. It also mentions that strict action is to be taken against those who go on unauthorised leaves for more than 21 days.
It will also help monitor the performance of the large scale of workers employed to maintain coach production units, workshops, and car sheds.
It has been commonly observed, that unaccounted absenteeism and lack of employees has led to the deterioration in quality management of coaches including seats, toilet blocks, fans and linen, inconveniencing the passengers.
According to a DNA report, the Railways have faced several instances where employees come to work in the morning, sign the muster, work a bit and leave for personal work or rail union activities.
“These staffs are our eyes and ears. If they aren’t present then it is bound to have severe repercussions even in areas that come under safety category,” a senior railway official told the publication.
While the Railways are considering it a pleasant move, the railway unions have been resenting it. General secretary of the Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh, Praveen Bajpai, expressed how all staff have been dispensing their duties sincerely and knew their responsibilities well.
“There is no need for anyone to monitor. Everyday railway men open ticket booking windows, loco pilots and guards run trains, gangmen maintain tracks and other employees do their work; without anyone from administration telling them. Rather the Railway administration should concentrate on filling up over 2.5 lakh vacant posts which are causing a burden on other rail employees,” he said.