Top Echelons of Nagaland Bureaucracy show low attendance in biometric system

Source: ‘Biometric Attendance Report for Nagaland Civil Secretariat from January to May, 2023’

Source: ‘Biometric Attendance Report for Nagaland Civil Secretariat from January to May, 2023’

Govt report show ‘zero attendance’ for most functionaries from Additional Secretary & above 

Moa Jamir 
Dimapur | June 11

Top echelons of Nagaland bureaucracy led others in not entering their attendance in the aadhaar enabled Biometric Attendance System (BAS) and its trickles down from above to bottom, revealed an assessment report published by the State Government. 

Analysis of ‘Biometric Attendance Report for Nagaland Civil Secretariat from January to May, 2023’ report made available in public domain via the official State portal on June 9 informed that out of more than 2000 employees listed,  approximately 789 (around 39.45%) had a recorded "Total Days Present" of zero.

The report stated that there were 116 working days between January 1 and May 31. 

Missing in action 
The State Chief Secretary was not listed in the report while the Additional Chief Secretary, along with all five Principal Secretaries, had no attendance record. 

Among the 18 Commissioners and Secretaries listed, only one, K Libanthung Lotha of the Home Department, had two recorded attendance entries. Home Commissioner Abhijit Sinha had 16 biometric attendance entries under his name.

The report highlighted that the practice of biometric entries was more noticeable among Additional Secretaries but remained low overall.

 Out of the 27 Additional Secretaries listed, only seven had a "Total Days Present" entry.

 Sotsula, the Additional Secretary in the State's Information & Public Relations (IPR) department, had the highest attendance record in the cohort, with 80 out of 116 working days. 

Y Renbonthung Tsopoe from the School Education department ranked second with 58 days, while Hemkhohao Singson from Planning & Co-Ordination (Evaluation) and Y Atsase Thongtsar from the Forest department tied for third place with 49 days each. 

Other Additional Secretaries with attendance records included Orenthung Lotha from Industry and Commerce (45), Mhathung Tungo from PHED (15), and Kuko Mero from Science and Technology (15).

Top performers 
The January-May biometric attendance report showed generally low usage among employees in the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, with a few notable exceptions. Janak Raj Sharma, a peon at the Nazareth Branch of the Home Department, had the highest attendance, logging in 110 days, just six short of the total 116 working days.

 Following closely was Temsumongla, an Upper Division Assistant (UDA) at the CMO office, with 109 days. S Temsu Longchar from Home (Printing & Stationery) and Z Anchees Odyuo, Chief Security Officer Home, tied for third place with 108 days each. 

Other individuals with attendance over 100 days included Vekho Puro, Under Secretary at P & AR (B NPSC), and Choriba, Sectional Officer, P & AR (Vigilance), both with 102 days, and Alemla, a peon at the CMO office, with 101 days.

Some others registering high working days in the BAS were Khrievolie Khruomo, Junior Mechanic, Home (Common Facility Cell) -97;  Kejangukhono UDA Excise (95); Nzano Humtsoe, Section Officer Forest (94); Mutseyi Chakhesang Peon Home (Disaster Management)- 93; Menuosielie Kelio Peon, Food and Civil Supplies (93); Pukuolie Peon New & Renewable Energy (92); Sentijungla, Principal Private Secretary Planning & Co-Ordination (91); Thejangusano Savino, Deputy Secretary, SCERT (90); Sangmai C Imlong, Joint Secretary Veterinery and Animal Husbandry (90); and Vezashelu Curhah LDA HOME SAB-A (90).

Reasons for Low attendance
Commenting on the report, an employee at the Civil Secretariat mentioned that the "Biometric Attendance Report" does not necessarily reflect lower physical attendance in offices. 

The officer attributed the low attendance recorded in the biometric machines to the cumbersome process of entry.
 The system was inadequate and inefficient, and employees often had to wait in long queues during rush hour, discouraging its usage, he informed, further opining that only those who arrived late must be entering without hassles. 

The exact number of machines installed inside the Secretariat is unknown, but the officer estimated that there might be around six for common usage.

However, according to the BAS dashboard for Nagaland, a total of 73 organizations and 9,147 employees are registered. During the period of June 5-9, attendance in the BAS ranged from 584 to 737. On June 10, there were 30 registered devices but the dashboard did not specify whether it pertains to the Civil Secretariat or other locations as well. 

The BAS was officially launched at the Nagaland Secretariat on February 19, 2017. 

However, due to precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, its usage was suspended from March 2020 and resumed in mid-2022. An office memorandum dated January 27, 2020, stated that the release of salaries would be linked to the biometric attendance record.