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Consumer Affairs Ministry to seek replacement of absentee officials amid COVID-19

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

As monitoring of essential commodities is necessary during the lockdown, Consumer Affairs Secretary Pawan Kumar Agarwal on Tuesday said his department has decided to seek replacement of officials unable to report for work due to medical conditions or other valid reasons.

A decision has been taken after some of the Consumer Affairs Ministry officials did not show up for work despite the government's directive on the weekend.

"Our ministry has a crucial role as it monitors the supply of essential commodities and prices. Some officers are required for this purpose. If they remain absent, then I have to seek replacement from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT)," Agarwal told PTI.

A list of officers who are unwilling to come for work is being prepared, he said, adding that an office memorandum has been issued in this regard.

Agarwal said the department will decide not to deploy on duty those officials who have medical conditions and other valid reasons and ask for replacement from the DoPT for the manpower.

The government has exempted movement of essential commodities from the lockdown, which has been extended till May 3 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Stating that the office memorandum (OM) has created some confusion, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan later said the OM was intended to compile the list of staff and officers, who are not able to come for emergency duties during the lockdown period either due to medical conditions or for any other valid reason (such as staying in hotspot areas) so that such persons are not deployed for such duties.

"In view of ambiguity in the language of this OM, this is withdrawn forthwith," he said.

The department would compile such information and use it while drawing up roster duty of officers / staff during the lockdown period so that no one is put to any hardship, while the work of the department is carried out smoothly, he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, April 14 2020. 21:26 IST