By Surya Desaraju
“Turn up at the Secretariat, face the camera, mark your attendance.” That is the new mandatory standard operating procedure prescribed for IAS officers in Secretary level and above in Andhra Pradesh.
The government has brought in the Facial Recognition System (FRS) mobile application with Geographical Information System (GIS) tagging for marking the daily attendance of Secretary, Principal Secretary and Special Chief Secretary-rank IAS officers posted in the AP Secretariat Departments. This is the first-of-its-kind system, for the top bureaucrats, in the country. The FRS went live on October 6, with the captured data directly accessed by the Chief Secretary.
“In the first phase, bureaucrats working in the Secretariat are covered. In the next phase, FRS will be extended to other IAS officers as well,” a top official of the Information Technology Department told PTI.
Recently, the government issued a formal order citing provisions of the AP Secretariat Office Manual (SOM) for introducing the FRS. “According to (para 421 of) the SOM, regularity and punctuality in attendance will be taken into consideration not only in sanctioning leave but also in judging one’s diligence,” Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said in the order.
He said the government has decided to make the SOM provisions applicable to the secretaries and also Gazetted Officers working in the Secretariat. “Action will be taken in accordance with the SOM in case attendance is not marked,” the Chief Secretary warned.
For over a year now, the Chief Secretary has issued a series of instructions, on the directions of the Chief Minister, asking the Special Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and Secretaries of all departments to “get organised and make things effective”.
On February 17 this year, the Chief Secretary issued an internal order directing the secretaries to “attend office and operate from the Secretariat without fail” as the Covid-19-related restrictions were lifted.