Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh government 'babus' used to playing truant for an afternoon siesta or meeting an old friend will now risk getting caught as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has decided to dial up officers' on their office landlines to check if they are present.
Uttar Pradesh's Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said that Adityanath would make these surprise calls on office landlines of officers between 9 am to 6 pm.
If the officials are not able to justify their absence and explain the reasons for not being able to take the chief minister's call, there could be penalties, Sharma told a press conference on Friday.
However, officers on field jobs will be given some relaxation, said Sharma, who is also a spokesman of the state government.
"The idea is that if the top bosses are present in office, juniors will follow their example," he explained.
In another significant decision, senior officers in the state have been ordered to immediately close their home- offices, Sharma said.
The priest-turned-politician, Adityanath, after he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had made it clear that he expects the administration to put in long hours.
After he took over in March, Adityanath had warned that anyone who had problems working at least 18-20 hours per day should take a different path.
The 44-year-old chief minister had told the officials that only those who were ready to work up to 20 hours will be able to work with him.
He has also taken measures to ensure presence of the government staff by direction that biometric attendance systems be put in place to deter late-comers.
Surprise attendance checks have been carried out in various departments to check punctuality.
The state Cabinet chaired by the chief minister had recently cancelled 15 holidays ordered by the previous governments to commemorate the birth or death anniversary of famous Indian leaders as part of an attempt to change the state's work culture.
Sharma said that after completing a marathon round of departmental presentations, the chief minister will follow up after 100 days to see whether his directions were followed or not.
He said that after every review, each department had been asked to release a 'white paper' on its functioning and a report card on completion of 100 days of the government.