The Ministry of Personnel on Wednesday said that all central government departments as well as state and Union Territory governments will be asked to exempt pregnant women, people with disabilities and those with comorbid conditions from coming to office during the coronavirus pandemic.
Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has exempted pregnant women officials and staff members from attending office, said Jitendra Singh, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, on Wednesday.
Singh said that a circular to this effect has been issued and is expected to be followed by different ministries as well as State and Union Territory governments.
Pregnant women employees who are not already on maternity leave will also be exempted from attending office, Singh said, adding that persons with disabilities are also to be given similar exemption from coming to office.
The latest circular issued by the DoPT also states that government servants who have underlying co-morbidities and were undergoing treatment for these ailments before the lockdown, may, as far as possible, be exempted upon production of medical prescription from treating physician as per the CGHS/CS (MA) Rules, as applicable.
"What is important, is to strictly observe staggered timings for the arrival and departure of the officers and the staff. In order to avoid unnecessary crowding, all the Heads of Departments have been advised to ensure three sets of timings. These would be 9 AM to 5 PM, 9:30 AM to 6 PM and 10 AM to 6:30 PM, respectively," Ministry of Personnel said in a statement.
While officers at the level of Deputy Secretary and above are expected to attend office on all working days, the officers and staff below the level of Deputy Secretary will attend office with 50 per cent attendance every alternative day, the ministry said. Those not attending the office should work from home and remain available on telephone and electronically, it further added.
Union Minister Singh appreciated the staff in the Ministry of Personnel for their uninterrupted work during the entire phase of lockdown. In fact, he said, some of the staff members were working from home even during the weekends which normally does not happen when the offices are closed.
Every care has been taken to ensure that offices continue to function, while at the same time, the welfare and safety of officials is not overlooked, said Singh.
Meanwhile, India's total count of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,06,750 on Wednesday including 61,149 active cases, and 3,303 deaths, according to figures released by the Union Health Ministry. The country recorded 5,611 new COVID-19 cases and 140 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day jump so far.
By Chitranjan Kumar