NMC caught on wrong foot: Biometric attendance system puts babus on edge but spares truant teachers

Biometric attendance system

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Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has been caught on the wrong foot again as far as biometric attendance system is concerned. At a time when the Municipal Commissioner is found making all out efforts to ensure discipline and transparency in administrative work, there is a clan of employees who are leaving no stone unturned to see the system in disarray.

The biometric attendance system has been installed at NMC’s at all zone offices, headquarters and at five dispensaries to curb absenteeism and ensure punctuality as well. An employee entering or leaving the premises presses his thumb in the slot provided. The system identifies the person and records the timing of arrival and departure.

However, surprisingly, the teachers have been excluded from this exercise as the civic body had 201 schools located in different parts of the city. It would be difficult to install the system at each school.

In a diktat issued on August 1, 2017, the Additional Municipal Commissioner Dr R Z Siddiqui has directed all the heads of departments and Assistant Commissioners of 10 zones to prepare salaries of all employees based on the “punching” report of biometric attendance system only. Any lethargy on this count would invite strict action, the order said. The salaries of August paid in September have to be made on the basis of “punching” record. All the machines have been connected with a centralized payroll system and the salary will be calculated as per the attendance reflected in the system.

Surprisingly, the Municipal Commissioner was not updated before issuing the directive as almost all schools of the civic body are bereft of the biometric attendance system. In this situation, the directive to make salaries on the basis of report of biometric attendance system could prove to be a futile exercise.

The diktat is likely to put the heads of departments and Assistant Commissioners of 10 zones in a fix. At some of the departments the biometric attendance system is non-functional. While the attendance registers were found in disarray, the biometric system installed to keep a tab on the movement of the staff was found to be non-functional. On the other hand, the teachers in the NMC schools are mocking at the directive of the Municipal Commissioner and “enjoying” the non-installation of biometric attendance system in schools. These are the teachers who play truant when it comes to attending schools regularly. These teachers would be spared of their whimsical attendance as their salaries would be made in accordance with the vague attendance registers.

But the directive has forced other employees of the civic body to spend sleepless nights. Many of the employees were found attending their duties as “picnic.” Come at their wish and go at their wish. For the record sake, the office timings at NMC’s most departments are from 10 am to 5 pm. But the habits die hard. Many employees were “determined” to show their faces not before 11-12. Then lunch for 1 or 2 hours, seat on chairs till 4 and then start deserting office one by one. But now it is going to be changed. Salary on the basis of ‘punching’ record in the biometric attendance system only. Late coming on three days in a month would mean absent for a day. No salary for that day.

The Municipal Commissioner Ashwin Mudgal is striving hard to reform the working of the civic body. He made it a point that the employees receive their salaries in the first week of every month, positively. Earlier, salary was a guessing game. Delay of over month was routine in the past.