The central government has relaxed norms for its employees who were either on leave or on an official tour and could not join office due to non-availability of public transport during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a Personnel Ministry order.
The move comes in the wake of the government receiving several references and queries from the employees who proceeded on leave with necessary permission, but could not report for duty due to travel restrictions.
The Personnel Ministry has issued an order to all central government departments mentioning clarifications to the queries on the issue, with a directive that they should avoid an "unnecessary reference to DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training under the ministry) on the subject".
Government servants who were on official tour and were unable to return to their headquarters due to non-availability of public transport should be "deemed to have joined duty on the date of expiry of official tour, if intimation in any form, indicating difficulty in joining duty due to non-availability of public transport/flights, has been given by the government servant to the office", it said.
The same provision is applicable for government employees who were on leave before the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25, according to the Personnel Ministry order issued on Tuesday.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"In case of leave on medical grounds, this is subject to production of a medical/fitness certificate," it said.
Citing a situation of government servants who left the headquarters on March 21 (Friday), the weekend prior to the lockdown, but could not return on March 23 due to non-availability of transport, the ministry said they shall be deemed to have joined on March 23, provided that they informed the office then.
It said that curtailment of a sanctioned leave may not be agreed to in case the leave of government servants expired during the lockdown period.
"Curtailment of a sanctioned leave may not be agreed to unless allowed by the leave sanctioning authority only in rare cases based on official exigency," the ministry clarified.
The employee may be deemed to have joined duty from the date of expiry of leave during the period of lockdown, it said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.