Remember my previous post about employee attendance at a particular government ministry in the nation of India? It told about the experience of minister Prakash Javadekar (of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), who showed up to work one day and discovered that some of his employees weren't at work yet. The minister was not happy about this, and came up with a solution - biometric attendance terminals.
[DISCLOSURE: I AM EMPLOYED IN THE BIOMETRIC INDUSTRY.]
He is not the only person in India - or the only person in the Indian government - to come up with this solution, as the Economic Times notes:
An electronic surveillance system to keep track of punctuality of government officials will become fully operational by the month end as part of Narendra Modi Government's efforts to discipline employees.
On its own, this statement is not earth-shattering; biometric attendance systems have been around for years. Of course, the sheer size of the endeavor is astounding, because everything in India is astounding when population is considered.
But no, the real newsworthy part of this can be found later in the article:
The website, attendance.gov.in, is hooked up to computers in government offices that will identify employees through their fingerprint and unique identity number (Aadhaar).
It displays a dynamic, real-time chart of how many people are at work. It is also possible check when an individual checks in and logs out of the system.
Now that isn't all that surprising. Dynamic, real-time charts - or dashboards - have also been around for a while. Dashboards would provide a nice way for Indian government officials to measure attendance.
I mean, the view is primarily for Indian government officials, isn't it?
Um, before I answer that question, I'd better add another disclosure.
[DISCLOSURE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL OF ANY INDIAN GOVERNMENT AGENCY. IN FACT, I AM NOT EVEN A CITIZEN OF INDIA.]
I went to http://attendance.gov.in/...and guess what I saw?
Yes, I, an American, was able to look at a website and see how many Indian government employees were working at that particular time - at least for the agencies that have already been added to the system.
But wait - it gets better.
You can drill down to specific agencies, such as "Director General Defence Estates (DGDE)- MOD," and see how many people are working. And if you're an Indian citizen, and you're waiting on some Defence Estates business, and a bunch of the employees are out of the office, you can fiercely complain or do an Occupy New Delhi or whatever it is you want to do.
Of course, if you're an Indian government employee, this isn't the best news in the world. As I mentioned in my previous post, an employee may have a valid reason for not being at work on any particular day. But that doesn't matter to the dashboard.
Of course, you don't have a lot of government officials working in India during lunchtime in California - it's the middle of the night out there. But if you live in the United States, and you're having a sleepless night, perhaps you can entertain yourself by going to http://attendance.gov.in/ and count Indian bureaucrats.
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