New Delhi: The Modi government is examining a proposal that suggests making work-from-home a formal provision for IAS and IRS officers and other government employees after the Covid-19 lockdown ends, ThePrint has learnt.
The proposal has been drafted by CARUNA – a platform created by civil servants across different services – to assist the government in its Covid-19 efforts, officers said.
While Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) spokesperson Shambhu Choudhary said there was no such proposal under consideration, sources in the department claimed there was.
According to the sources, the proposal is being examined by the DoPT, and the department could soon draft guidelines to institute work from home as a formal provision.
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First experiment successful
Discussing how the proposal came about, a government officer associated with CARUNA said the Covid-19 lockdown was the administration’s first experiment with work from home and it had proved successful.
“Work from home as a practice was never quite adopted by the government sector even though it is very popular in the private sector…” the officer added. “During the Covid-19 lockdown, the government of India, for the first time, was compelled to adopt the practice, and it worked.”
According to the officer, while “a lot of work slowed down because of the shock that Covid-19 gave to the government, work didn’t stop even though most officials were operating from home”.
“Since this is a practice that can lead to more efficiency, the government is exploring ways to formalise it,” the officer added.
If the government decides to institutionalise the practice, it will have to come up with guidelines and specify how the provision can be availed of, how many times it can be availed of, under what circumstances, and so on, the officer said.
In March, when the Modi government first announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, the DoPT came up with detailed guidelines for staff to work from home as much as possible.
While central government offices sprang back to life this week, about two-thirds of the staff below deputy security level rank are still working from home.
Also read: Not a win-win situation — why we should not work from home after the Covid-19 lockdown