It is certainly time to review the number of holidays declared in government offices (“What we need is a 365-day government,” Open Page, Jan. 2). It is also time to do away with vacations in courts where a huge number of cases are pending.
Also, undeclared holidays which come from nowhere for the not-so-significant reasons need to be cut out. In order to progress, we need to strive as a nation. Holidays should not come in the way.
The idea that government offices should function 365 days a year is impossible to implement. A weekly off is reasonable and an accepted norm across the world. I suggest that the number of closed holidays, which is in the range of 15 to 20 days, be cut down to three a year. They should be limited to Independence Day, Republic Day, and Gandhi Jayanti. Holidays on festivals should be done away with. They should be declared restricted holidays which an employee may avail himself of by choice. These should be subject to a maximum of eight days in a calendar year.
These steps will not only keep the government offices open almost throughout the year, but would also ensure the presence of minimum staff even on festival days.
I have heard many discussions on the drawbacks of declaring public holidays for all employees on religious festivals. People belonging to a religion do nothing on a holiday when the festival for which it is declared pertains to another community. As a beginning, the government can think of utilising their services on such days, by providing some compensation — monetary or otherwise. In due course, holidays will become optional.
Seshagiri Row Karry,
With the advent of technology, almost every service is available 24X7. Government employees earned their rights such as eight-hour work and decent working conditions after a long struggle. Dismissing such hard earned rights as unionised bureaucracy is saddening. While weekly holidays are meant to provide the much needed rest for the working class, other holidays are meant to celebrate important festivals. As for the holidays declared for the death of VIPs, they are few and far between.
J. Anantha Padmanabhan,
People don't work for monetary benefits alone. They require time off with their families and friends to celebrate festivals and other occasions. Of course, we are against the unnecessary holidays forced on us by bandhs and hartals. But holidays are necessary to keep employees motivated.
It is necessary for government employees too to get a day off every week. It is, of course, possible to have arrangements for holidays on different days for different employees so that government offices remain open at all times.