Shri A.K. Verma, an executive engineer with India's Central Public Works Department (CPWD), took an earned leave in December 1990 and never came back to work. He is finally fired after 24 Years of Absenteeism.
Now, after 24 years and one month, he has been fired by the CPWD "for unauthorized absence from duty."
Even in India, where government jobs are considered to be for life, A.K. Verma was pushing it.
Verma, an executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department, was fired after last appearing for work in December 1990.
"He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work," the government said in a statement on Thursday.
Even after an inquiry found him guilty of "wilful absence from duty" in 1992, it took another 22 years and the intervention of a cabinet minister to remove him, the government said.
India's labour laws, which the World Bank says are the most restrictive anywhere, make it hard to sack staff for any reason other than criminal misconduct.
Verma sought extensions of his initial leave, but they were not granted; however, he still refused to come to work. In 1992, an inquiry was launched against him; in 2007, charges were brought against him by the then-minister of urban development.
Yet he was still not terminated — until now.
The Indian bureaucracy is known for being painstakingly slow — in fact, it's the "worst in Asia," according to a 2012 report from Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.
India's labor laws are so restrictive, Reuters reports, it is very difficult to fire a public official for anything besides criminal misconduct.
But things are shifting. Shortly after taking office in March 2014, India's Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu directed a review of cases such as Verma's, which had been sitting in a drawer since 2007.
In 2014, India launched a fingerprint scanning program to control the work hours of public servants, and real-time results are posted online.
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