Confederation letter to DOPT about Covid-19 related problems
The Secretary, (Personnel)
Department of Personnel & Training
New Delhi. 110 001
Sub:- Covid 19 related problems – need for resolution.
We invite your kind attention to the various instructions issued by the Department of Personnel & Training to ensure a modicum of functioning of the Government offices during the lock- down period. Some of these instructions require extension of its originally stipulated period and others require certain amendments in the changed scenario. We are certain that you will appreciate the pandemic situation has worsened over the months despite best efforts to combat the spread of the disease. Though at the national level lock down has been eased, some parts of the country are either declared as containment zone, red zones, or the authorities have clamped down triple lock down in certain other areas. In the absence of general instructions the local authorities in various departments take decisions which normally vary from one to other and even at times they are contradictory too. This apart, the local authorities often refuse to listen to the genuine grievances of the employees and their directions become incapable of adherence creating in the process mental disturbance. On the basis of what is reported to us we make the following suggestions for your kind consideration and issuance of appropriate clarificatory orders.
(1) The order dated 20th March, 2020 empowering the local authorities to sanction commuted leave without production of medical certificate for those who are beyond the age of 50 expired on 4.04.2020. Since this situation has worsened in certain parts of the country thereafter, this order requires to be extended at-least upto 31.12.2020.
(2) The lock down declaration was, as you are aware, sudden and came into effect immediately making it impossible for the people to move from one place to another. Some of the employees had left for their native villages even prior to the declaration of the lock down. Some of them were already on leave. They could not rejoin duty during the lock down period. They were stranded. Their absence has to be regulated by grant of special casual leave. Instructions may be issued to grant such special casual leave for those who could not report for duty either after the expiry of the leave, if they were on leave, or out of station just prior to holidays. The concerned individual may be asked to explain the circumstances under which he could not be present at the office when he was due to be present.
(3) The stipulation that a percentage of the employees must be present in the office ought to have been made applicable for those who were staying say within 1-2 kms ambit of the office premises. Or else, arrangements for their transportation ought to have been made by the authorities. It has been reported to us that in some of the offices, the local authorities has issued orders directing certain employees to be present on certain days and the others on other days. This again is an order, which was incapable of obeying during the lock down period .Even today in certain areas where the covid-19 affected patients were on rise, the said areas have been locked down. Instructions may, therefore, kindly be caused to be issued whereby the employees residing far away from the place where the office is located are exempted from attending office, if no public transport system is in operation.
(4) In order to ensure that the citizens do not encounter any difficulties when they visit Government offices, the front office system has been introduced in almost all field formations of the subordinate offices. Since they are perforce to come in contact with large number of persons visiting the concerned offices, we suggest that instructions may kindly be issued that only employees/officials, beyond the age of 50 are posted to man those front offices.
(5) The instruction to the effect that officials who have children of less than 5 years of age might work from home, appears to have been withdrawn. This may be restored as children are prone to virus infection much more faster than elderly persons.
We request comprehensive instructions covering the above suggestions my please be caused to be issued as early as possible.
R. N. Parasar