File photo of Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray | ANI
File photo of Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray | ANI
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Mumbai: Use landline phones for work as much as possible, prefer text messages over voice calls, and keep voice calls as short as possible. These are some of the guidelines that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has laid down for its employees and officials on using their mobile phones for government work. 

The state general administration department, which falls under the jurisdiction of Chief Minister Thackeray, has issued a government resolution dated 23 July laying down the rules. 

The rules come at a time when public representatives have been making allegations of their phones being tapped when the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government was in power. The guidelines also come at a time when the Pegasus Project has been releasing lists of Indian politicians, bureaucrats, business tycoons, journalists, and others, who were allegedly targeted using the spyware. 

A senior official from the general administration department, however, said that the government resolution is not a consequence of fears over spying malware and phone tapping.

“We were planning to frame such rules for the use of mobile phones much before the Pegasus Project reports came about. It is for the simple reason of maintaining decorum when many people are working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. 

The department had earlier this month also published rules for government employees on how to conduct themselves during video calls. 

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Use polite language, shun unparliamentary words’

The state’s government resolution says that the guidelines are because some are not following protocols. “It has been noticed that some officials and government employees don’t follow the expected protocol while using mobile phones. Because of such behaviour, the government’s image takes a hit to a certain extent,” the resolution states. 

The guidelines further say that during office hours, employees should use mobile phones for communication only when absolutely essential, and otherwise prefer landlines. While using mobile phones, employees and officials are expected to use polite language and speak in a low tone. 

The guidelines add that employees should not get into arguments while speaking on their mobile phones, and ensure they don’t use unparliamentary words. Text messages should be preferred over voice calls, voice calls should be as short as possible. 

Further, employees have been asked to take phone calls from public representatives and senior officials on priority, even if they are already speaking to someone else. 

The resolution says that while in meetings with senior officials, employees should keep their phones on silent, and not have earphones plugged in or check their phones in the middle of meetings. 

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

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