The Union Information & Broadcasting Minister conducted a surprise check and found what he must have expected to find ------officials reaching their work place at their own leisurely pace.
That no less than the Minister has to step in ensure punctuality in attendance ----- and that because the Prime Minister attaches significance to it ----- tells us something we all know and care nothing about: punctuality is not a trait that Indians are proud to possess.
Government officials do not begin work at the designated hour. Meetings do not ever begin as scheduled, particularly if non government stakeholders are also participants. Even ceremonies such as those to honour officials with awards or occasions when pledges and oaths are administered begin only when the VIP steps in, no matter how late. Indian delegations to international fora are invariably the last ones to enter the conference venue. Those of us who protest are looked at rather sneeringly ------punctuality is not considered either a legal or a moral imperative.
The government/public sector alone cannot be blamed, however. Trains and buses do not run as per schedule, not even private and chartered buses or even school buses. Shopping establishments do not open at the declared hour. Appointments with administrators/teachers in schools and colleges inevitably begin late. Bank officials keep one waiting even if a mutually convenient time had been agreed upon with one's "personal banker". Service engineers/technicians who visit to repair/maintain equipment never adhere to the stipulated hour for visit. Those who punctually arrive at a social get together are frowned upon.
As a nation, we do not value our time or the other person's. Possibly, we have too little to do and therefore imagine that we have all the time in the world to do it.
We have too little to do because we do not take pride in our work, and therefore do not feel impelled to do the best we can. We have too little to do because a large portion of our work we'd rather delegate, and consider ourselves "superior" for that reason. We have too little to do because we are content with a little knowledge about everything under the sun and do not care to take the trouble of developing expertise in any domain. We have too little to do because we do not aspire for perfection, and are satisfied so long as the bare minimum to hold our lives together is achieved.
We as a nation are lazy and mediocre, and unless we remedy that, no amount of "surprise checks" will change the way we live and function.