Thiruvananthapuram: While secretariat staff unions have demanded punching be made compulsory for the staff of chief minister and ministers, the general administration department has issued no specific direction yet.
As per the GAD absentees report of Secretariat prepared on January 3, the majority of the staff attached to the chief minister’s office and other ministers were found absent in forenoon as well as in the afternoon.
They had approached the chief minister to exempt them from punching because of the nature of their duties. In the absence of a specific directive from GAD, these staff members continue to violate the compulsory punching norms.
Many of the staff members are discharging duties that are not strictly 10 am to 5 pm. They have to accompany ministers outside the Secretariat and even discharge responsibility in other departments.
Moreover, the duty hours of the staff also depended on the presence of minister in office. If he sits late, then they too will have to remain in their seats well beyond 5 pm.
It is against this background that the staff of ministers had sought exemption or relaxation from the compulsory biometric punching. However, the pro-Congress Secretariat Association said punching should be made compulsory for all. “Even other staff work well beyond duty hours and sit late," said J. Bency, its president.
"During Assembly sessions, they have to sit late. Therefore the GAD should issue specific directions to the staff of ministers to comply with punching norms.”
The CPM's Kerala Secretariat Association is for clarity on the issue.
“The nature of duties performed by ministers’ staff is different from others. All these things have to be factored in when issuing a directive to them,” said M. S. Bijukuttan, its secretary....