An Indian government worker who took an extremely long vacation has finally been fired from his job — 24 years later.
Assistant executive engineer A.K. Verma took leave from his post in India’s Urban Development department in 1990. After a whopping two years away, officials ruled he was guilty of a “willful absence of duty,” The Guardian reports. But, somehow, it took his superiors in the notoriously bureaucratic Indian government 22 more years to fire him.
Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu fired Verma to “streamline the functioning of (the department) and to ensure accountability.”
What caused the extreme delay? A few things. For starters, the Indian government is rated by several organizations, including Political and Economic Risk consultancy, as the most bureaucratic governing body in Asia. Then come India’s labor laws, which make it nearly impossible to fire an employee for anything less than criminal conduct. Add it all up, and it can take a while to get fired from a job you haven’t showed up to in decades.
Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a number of efforts to crack down on the lax work culture in the Indian government. Among other things, workers are required to clock in each day by scanning their fingerprints. Modi has also made a habit of visiting different departments — unannounced — to make sure people are working as expected. So far, the results are good. The government’s golf course has reportedly been noticeably empty during work hours in recent weeks.