India's work-shy bureaucrats face attendance tracking

NEW DELHI – The new Indian government is trying to tackle the culture of absenteeism among the country's notoriously work-shy bureaucrats by tracking their attendance in the office online, a report said Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new administration is developing a special computer system which will enable ministers to monitor whether the staff is actually at their computers, according to The Indian Express newspaper, calling it a "revolutionary step". India's civil servants have long been notorious for arriving late, taking long lunches or spending parts of their day on the golf course. A recent survey by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk consultancy rated India's bureaucracy as the worst among major Asian countries.

In his Independence Day speech earlier this month, Modi said that he has been shocked by what he had seen in the corridors of power since moving to New Delhi after his landslide election victory in May. During his first three months in office, Modi has developed a reputation for paying unannounced visits to government offices. Fear of being caught playing truant has already triggered a sharp rise in attendance levels among civil servants and Delhi's main golf course has reportedly been largely deserted on week days.

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