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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

The Civil Servant Who Didn't Show Up to Work for 24 Years


One of the big criticisms of the U.S. civil service system is that it's simply too hard to fire poor-performing employees. But compared to India, it's apparently a breeze. 

Reuters reported this week on the case of A.K. Verma, an employee of India's Central Public Works Department, who recently was fired for failing to show up for work.

"He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work," the Indian government said in a statement.

That was in December 1990.

You read that right: Verma skipped out on his job for 24 years. In 1992, he was found guilty of "willful absence from duty," but it took another 22 years before he was finally dismissed. India's civil service protections are considered some of the most stringent in the world. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reuters reported, has sought to crack down on "rampant absenteeism" by making government employees check in for work each day using a fingerprint scanner. 

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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