Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that pregnant women and 'divyang' (differently-abled) employees of central government departments have been exempted from attending office in the wake of a sharp spike in Covid cases. However, they will be required to remain available and work from home, he said.
Officials and staff living in Covid containment zone have also been exempted from coming to office, till the time the containment zone is denotified, said Singh, who is the minister of state for personnel. He said physical attendance of government servants below the level of under secretary has been restricted to 50 per cent of actual strength and the remaining 50 per cent, will work from home, according to a statement issued by the personnel ministry on Sunday.
Rosters will be prepared accordingly by all departments concerned, Singh said. However, he said, officials and staffers, who are not attending office and are working from home, will remain available on telephone and through other electronic means of communications at all times. Delhi on Saturday, recorded seven fatalities due to Covid and 20,181 cases as the positivity rate rose to 19.60 per cent, while the country, according to health ministry data updated on Sunday, reported a single day rise of 1,59,632 cases and 327 fatalities.
In view of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Singh said that an order has been issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) with the advice that official meetings will be conducted, as far as possible, through video conferencing. Similarly, personal meetings with visitors are to be avoided, unless absolutely necessary, he said. To avoid overcrowding on office premises, the minister said, officials and staffers will follow staggered timings that are 9 am to 5.30 pm and 10 am to 6.30 pm.
The DoPT has advised all officers and staffers to ensure strict compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour such as frequent washing of hands, sanitisation, wearing face mask or face cover and observing social distancing, the statement said. Proper cleaning and sanitisation of the workplace, particularly frequently touched surfaces, should also be ensured, it said. Singh said that the guidelines issued, according to the DoPT order, will remain in force till January 31. Regular review will be carried out from time to time and guidelines could be revised accordingly depending on the situation, the statement said.
-With PTI Inputs