August 23, 2012 -
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India has decided to use a biometric fingerprint attendance system for all health care workers. The system will be implemented in phases. The initial phase was started on April 2, 2012 as a pilot project and will require all senior officials and doctors at government hospitals and medical colleges to submit to biometric attendance systems. This will include: medical superintendents, deputy superintendents, nursing superintendents, deputy nursing superintendents, medical officers and departmental heads.
Susanta Bandyopadhyay, director of medical education and ex-officio secretary of the health department explained why they opted to implement in phases: “Initially, there were rumblings against the move amongst all the officials, but with time we found that all were complying. We will include all categories of officials and personnel in this biometric attendance mechanism. But it will be done in a phased manner. If we included the paramedical employees initially, there would have been severe resistance which might affect the whole project.”
The paramedical employee group is a much larger bunch, about twice as much as the administrative group. It consists of nurses, paramedics and contractual employees.
The health department has already assigned a vendor to carry out the installation and operation of the biometric fingerprint attendance system but the hospitals and medical colleges need to draw the list of personnel first.
Medical colleges seek implementation of the system as a welcome move to curb the rampant practice of tardiness and absenteeism, which includes signing a register but not coming into work.
However, the West Bengal Health Employees Association has noted loopholes in the system that needs to be reconciled. Tapan De, general secretary of the association said that the members, especially those working in the wards, work various shifts. This shift hours need to be accounted for in the biometrics fingerprint attendance system. Members of the All India Trinamool Congress (https://www.aitmc.org/), a social democratic political party in West Bengal, support the claim of the West Bengal Health Employees Association.
Do you agree that biometric fingerprint attendance systems need to be installed in all hospitals and medical colleges in India?