Home Minister Rajnath Singh stressed the need for punctuality to a group of bureaucrats when an event for which he was the guest of honour began 12 minutes after it was meant to in Delhi.
“I was a little bit worried today. The programme was supposed to start at 9.45 (AM). We reached five minutes before the scheduled time. But it started at 9.57 (AM),” the minister said at the event attended mostly by officers belonging to the IAS and other all India services.
Various members of the audience trickled in even after the event had formally commenced. The minister said that while there could be some legitimate reasons for running late, a pause to consider what went wrong was recommended.
The function was attended by top bureaucrats from central ministries and departments. Senior members of the Prime Minister’s Office were also present.
“It would have been good that we would not have deviated (from the scheduled time). Has there been any laxity in our commitment?” the minister asked.
Referring to the country’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who famously described the civil services as the “steel frame” of India, Mr Singh asked if “the steel frame has become weak.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly stressed the need for government officials to show up on time for work and senior ministers have conducted surprise checks and docked employees a day’s salary if they were late on the day of the inspection.
Recently, a new minister in Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh had his department locked up after he found many officials missing at the start of the day.