Paswan comes to the aide of absentee officers amid Covid-19 threat


By NS Desk 14-Apr-2020

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, came to the aide of his men on Tuesday by cancelling the ministry's order of taking action against officers who were reluctant to join office amid the Covid-19 threat.

On Tuesday evening, Paswan took to social media to make a point that he has issued an order to cancel the ministry's office memorandum wherein it was stated that the officers who were not willing to join the office would be relieved from the department.

Paswan tweeted: "I have come to know about this Office Memorandum of Department of Consumer Affairs. Secretary, DoCA, has been instructed to withdraw this OM and issue clarification. Offices shall continue to function as per MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training) orders during lockdown."

On Monday, the Department of Consumer Affairs, witnessing a very low turnout in offices over the Covid-19 threat, had asked its officers to clarify their unwillingness to join services or else get themselves relieved.

The ministry in the office memorandum sought "intimation by all officer/staff of Department of Consumer Affairs regarding their unwillingness/continuation of their services in the department".

The memorandum, accessed by IANS, stated: "All the officers/officials who are unwilling to continue in this department may intimate the same to establishment section by April 20 so that necessary action may be taken for relieving them."

Amid the Covid-19 threat, the Department of Consumer Affairs has a crucial role to play as it is responsible for maintaining food supplies and distribution.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is one of the two departments under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. It was constituted as a separate department in June 1997 to give a fillip to the nascent consumer movement in the country.

In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the department is responsible for the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act, Essential Commodities Act and prevention of black marketeering and maintenance of supply under the Essential Commodities Act.

The department's main task is also to monitor the prices and availability of essential commodities.

In view of the coronavirus infection and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, it was found that many officers and staff were not attending offices and it became a tough task to manage the department, sources said.



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