The top bureaucrat of the government has asked all the departments to increasingly emphasise on "cleanliness of work areas and improvement in the over-all ambience of office buildings as also punctuality on the part of the officials should be reviewed on sustained basis so that there is a visible improvement and there are no report of slippages in this regard."
Soon after taking charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met all the secretaries and had asked them to begin workplace reforms with cleaning-up of offices and improving the conditions, which would automatically result in efficient services to the citizens. Taking urgent note of these instructions, the ministries have now issued instructions to their respective offices and field formations across the country.
In a directive issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to the Income Tax department, orders have been issued that "there should be no dust, no old ACs, almirahs and old furniture belonging to the office lying around the corridors or common areas near staircases and no betel-leaf stained corners."
The I-T department has a huge public interaction at its thousands of big and small offices in the country.
"To give a neat and tidy look to the sections, the officers concerned may also be impressed upon to take special interest in weeding out of obsolete papers and files and to record all closed cases after action on the issues considered thereon has been completed, as per the prescribed retention schedule," the CBDT instructions said.
The CBDT also asked its controlling and administrative officers to conduct surprise checks of the staff attendance and the duty register.
"All the officers and staff working in offices under the control of officers should strictly observe the prescribed office timings.
"It should be ensured that they do not overstay the luch break and leave offices early before closing of office hours," the latest directives said.
"All heads of departments may be instructed to conduct regular, unannounced and surprise punctuality checks alongwith checking of attendance registers of the offices to see that the officials are observing office hours meticulously.
"Habitual latecomers may also be warned to mend their ways failing which disciplinary action may be taken against them," the order said. In June, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) at North Block were told to get rid of clutter and weed out old and unwanted files.