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Indian Man Finally Gets Fired after Skipping Work for 24 Years

An employee of India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been found guilty of ‘wilful absence of duty’ – believe it or not – for the past 24 years! Assistant executive engineer A.K. Verma went off sick from work one morning in 1990, and he simply never returned.

“He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the department told the media last Thursday. Verma is said to have joined the CPWD in 1980, and risen to the rank of executive engineer in 1990.

Although he came under investigation in 1992, he was only fired this month. Formal proceedings to dismiss him did not start until 2007, and it took seven more years for the department to actually reach a decision to sack him. Ultimately, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu ordered his dismissal, in order to ‘streamline the functioning of the CPWD and to ensure accountability’.

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Interestingly, Verma’s isn’t an isolated case; Indian bureaucracy is quite notorious for soaring levels of absenteeism. Many of the nation’s civil servants are known for arriving late to work, taking long lunches, or spending several hours playing golf. In fact, a 2012 survey by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk consultancy rated India’s bureaucracy as the worst among major Asian nations.

India’s labor laws, which the World Bank  rates the strictest in the world, made it almost impossible to fire employees for any other reason than criminal misconduct. In August last year, a state school in Madhya Pradesh sacked a teacher who hadn’t turned up for work in 23 years. However, since Verma’s case was made public, states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have recently changed the law to make it easier to fire people.

Now that strict action is being taken against deviant officers, fear of being caught has caused a rise in attendance levels among civil servants – and Delhi’s main golf course has reportedly been deserted for weeks!

Sources: IBN, BBC

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