Government employees work for less than 100 days a year
When it comes to official holidays, nothing can surpass the liberty that India’s government employees enjoy. At a time when people around the world (including India) are leaving no stone unturned to hold on to a job and work productively to bring out their nations from economic crises, India's government employees are finding excuses of different kinds for not coming to office. It’s not for nothing that India fares poorly on almost all development and socio-economic indicators. Thanks to the number of non-working days, the work in government departments never seem to get completed and rarely meet their deadlines.
Agreed that corporations across the world, just like India, have a system of five working days a week but then the same corporations, unlike India, do not provide so many extra holidays. Due to the multi-cultural and multi-religious demography, the number of gazetted holidays in India is highest in the world. According to the notification issued by the Government of India, there are as many as 38 gazetted public holidays in 2009. A back of the envelope calculation shows that any government employee working for 5 days a week gets 104 holidays straightaway. Above this, there is a provision of 3 national holidays (Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti), 14 gazetted holidays, 2 restricted holidays, 8 casual leaves, 30 earned leaves and 20 half -pay leaves on an average. So if an employee plans to take all the stipulated holidays and leaves, he would finally work for somewhere around 185 to 200 days. No corporation in the world be it private or public, allows their employee such a flexibility. Take for instance China where an employee works for 6 days a week with 10 public holidays in a year. Likewise in US, employees enjoy a total of 27 days holidays (11 national holidays, 8 paid holidays and 8 public holidays). This holiday spree does not condense here. Besides this long and never ending list of leaves, women employee can further opt for 135 days maternity leave (15 days for men) and special leave upto 20 days for family planning surgeries. Such high number of holidays do not only dilute the productivity of the company but also affect the cost of the company. All these holidays clubbed with absenteeism lead to a position wherein the company has to pay complete annual salary, even if the employee works for virtually one-third of the total working days.
Even the Sixth Pay Commission in its recommendations (along with steep salary rise) requested the government to reduce the number of government holidays. But then the government hardly paid heed to any of those recommendations as it would affect their vote banks (that is largely based on religious groups). Instead of mourning deaths of political leaders by declaring holidays, India should find reasons to extend working hours. For a country like India that suffers from huge financial deficits, project overruns (which leads to cost overrun up to 11.75 percent) and delays, huge unemployment and decreasing productivity, it’s imperative to work more and complete the pending projects rather than un-intellectually opting for unnecessary leaves. No government across the world announces holidays on all major ceremonies and events.. Along with salary hike (through the Sixth Pay Commission) what government departments need is impeccable professionalism. Hope that the end of this holiday spree sees its beginning soon! Or else...