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Government employees will get work from home facility even after the lockdown is over, the government is designing

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Post-lockdown Govt offices to continue with work from home

new Delhi. Central government employees may have to work at different working hours in the near future and it is possible that the attendance of the employees is also low, given that the Department of Personnel and Training has started to work for the employees after the lockdown is over. A draft outline has been prepared regarding working. It states that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) can provide policymakers / employees the option of working from home for 15 days in a year as a policy. At present, there are 48.34 lakh central government employees.

In a communique sent to all departments of the central government, the Ministry of Personnel said that the Kovid-19 global epidemic has made it mandatory for many ministries to work from home to maintain social distance. Several Ministries / Departments of the Government of India took exemplary results and successfully worked in tackling the global pandemic during lockdown by availing the video conferencing and e-office facilities of the National Informatics Center. This was the first experience of its kind in the Government of India.

The ministry said that there is a possibility that the presence of employees in the Central Secretariat will be less in the near future and they have to work at different working hours to maintain social distance at the workplace. The Ministry said that a comprehensive roadmap is important for working from home after the lockdown is over and ensuring the security of information while sitting at home and obtaining government files and information. Accordingly, new standard operating procedures have been set for the employees for the smooth functioning of the government.

Ministries / Departments will provide logistic support in the form of laptops / desktops to the employees. They can also be paid for Internet services while working from home. Separate guidelines can also be issued in this regard if required. In the draft guidelines, additional protocols have been proposed for all VIP and Parliament related matters. It states that hence alerts will be sent through SMS for all such receipts. The draft states that the Ministries / Departments which are not using the e-office module will implement it in their secretariat and subordinate offices in a time bound manner. At present, around 75 ministries / departments are actively using the e-office platform, out of which 57 have achieved more than 80 percent of their work.

However, confidential documents / files cannot be obtained while working from home. It said that according to the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, no confidential information will be handled through the e-office. Therefore, while working from home, confidential files will not be worked in the e-office. NIC may, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, assess the existing security protocols for securing confidential files / information and propose appropriate guidelines and standard operating procedures for the same.

The Ministry of Personnel said that the officials to whom official laptops were provided should ensure that only official work is done on them. The guidelines state that inter-ministerial discussions, exchange of files between ministries can take place smoothly at the e-office. It states, "Working from home, NIC's video conferencing facility should be leveraged for important meetings. Officers and employees can participate in the meetings by activating the VC link sent to them by NIC. Video conferencing should be used as much as possible in offices to maintain social distance during the Kovid-19 global epidemic.

NIC has been asked to strengthen it to make video conferencing more convenient. The guidelines state that officers working from home should follow all rules to maintain office environment by attending meetings through video conferencing. It said, all departments of the Central Government have been asked to send their comments by 21 May, failing which the Ministry / Department would be deemed to have agreed with the proposed draft.

This post was published on May 14, 2020 2:45 pm

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