TOP-LEVEL bureaucratic assignments will soon become contingent on the number of hours officers sit behind their desk. Ahead of Wednesday’s fresh infusion of secretaries, the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) wing in the Prime Minister’s Office had, on Monday, sought attendance records of each serving secretary from the administrative wing of each department.
The PMO instruction, conveyed verbally, asked for biometric attendance record for the months of April and May — including hours spent, if any, at work on weekends and holidays. The report had to be sent in sealed cover, sources said. The exercise came ahead of filling up 12 posts of secretaries that become vacant as of month-end, following four retirements on June 30. The attendance was seen as a proxy to measure the dedication of officers to their job and weed out those merely passing time ahead of impending retirement, a secretary said.
The government today brought in seven fresh faces while shuffling 10 others. It did not remove any secretary. Some of the departments were still left in additional charge of other secretaries. Earlier this month, at an informal meet with secretaries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted that he preferred longer tenure for bureaucrats to implement his government’s agenda. He seemed to suggest that he was looking for a mix of merit and a longer tenure, rather than seniority alone.