Agro-scientists Resent Biometric Monitoring

Science is a passion, and work hours should not be put under electronic scrutiny, those coming under a new guideline argue

Published: 16th February 2015 10:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2015 06:03 AM   |  A+A-


QUEEN’S ROAD: Quite a few scientists are upset about the central government’s recent insistence that they clock so many working hours under biometric monitoring.

The government wants to introduce biometric attendance systems at science institutions under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

A lot depends on the work culture of an organisation, some scientists say. Scientists who work flexible hours may find it difficult to adjust to strict timings and deliver quality work, they feel.

A biometrics system will soon be introduced at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research at Hessaraghatta, about 25 km from central Bengaluru. The institute, set up in Delhi in 1967, was moved to Bengaluru the following year.

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi has been using a biometrics system for a year.

2.JPG“A scientist must be judged on his productivity, papers and what he creates, and not on the time he spends somewhere,” said a scientist who preferred not to be named for this story. “Unfortunately, this is the case all over India. Even ISRO scientists have to clock in their work timings.”

He said he had worked as a visiting scientist in the USA where productivity was judged creatively, and not by how many hours a scientist spent in his lab.

Another scientist said, “It is certainly not good. People become scientists because they love their work. No scientist works nine to five. Science is a passion, not a profession.”

A woman scientist, however, had a different view. “It is a good move. As scientists working for the government, we have agreed to this. A lax system must be tightened,” she told City Express.

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