After making marking of biometric attendance mandatory for staff of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in November, 2019, the municipal commissioner had ordered salary cuts for those employees who failed to comply. Now, the MCD is spending Rs 18 lakh a month for smart watches, which were distributed in February 2020. These watches are enabled with the global positioning system (GPS) to keep track of the whereabouts of the staff, especially the field workers. These watches have successfully detected 250 ghost employees, who were drawing wages!
However, the resistance to these smart watches was so much that the MC had to discontinue the measure, but is determined to restart the same with effect from May 1. The wearing of these watches will be linked to the attendance of the employees, which, in turn will have an impact on the salary calculation of the staff.
The Corporation seems determined to adhere to the wrist watches for ensuring discipline amongst the staff, despite protests from the sweepers’ association. Ever since the idea was mooted, the staff have been finding excuses to resist the practice, even saying that wearing these watches is a risk to their health. The MC, however, is going ahead with its resolve to continue the practice.
The sanitary workers and even some councillors have not been wearing these watches for some time now. This had forced the Corporation to go back to the conventional practice of marking physical attendance for a while. A Committee was assigned the work of looking into the issue. However, opinion on continuing with the system remained divided.
Finally, it seems, taking into account the efficiency that has been brought about amongst the MC staff, due to these watches, the Corporation has decided to go ahead with the practice.
The Corporation is paying Rs 2 crores as rent for these watches.
Meanwhile, the Corporation may end up facing a penalty for not detecting the 250 ghost employees who were being paid salaries.