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Thursday, Apr 11, 2002

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High-tech snooper to keep tabs on shirking AP Govt employees

C.R. Sukumar


THERE is good news for millions of Indians availing themselves the services of Government departments, and perhaps not-so-good news for thousands of Government employees across the country as days of laidback work-style seem to be over.

Scenes of empty chairs in Government offices during working hours may soon be a thing of the past. Also falling by the wayside would be the `flexible' timings and other sluggish work atmosphere as the Andhra Pradesh Government proposes to introduce `Biometric Meters' in all Government offices.

Unlike the identity card swiping machines monitoring employees attendance which can be swiped by `cooperative' colleagues, these biometric meters would have pre-recorded finger prints of the employees and records attendance only when the employee concerned places his finger on the meter.

While the move to install identity card swiping machines in Government offices to record attendance was vehemently opposed by the employees' unions at the State Secretariat level in the State earlier, the Government was successful in entering into an agreement with the employees unions recently for installing such machines.

Following the recommendations of an expert committee on the issue and after the loopholes in the identity card swiping machines were identified, the Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to opt for biometric meters.

As a part of a pilot project, the State Government is learnt to have decided to install the biometric metres in around 200 social welfare hostels across the State at a cost of close to Rs 1 crore, with each metre costing roughly Rs 50,000.

In the next stage, the State Secretariat and the District Collectorate offices would be covered under the project, sources said adding that many States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi were also making enquiries on biometric meters.

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