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GUWAHATI: In a first-of-its-kind initiative for geriatric care, the Assam cabinet on Wednesday created a special bucket of four official holidays at the start of the new year – two extra days off from work stretching into a weekend – that all ministers, bureaucrats and other employees must utilise to spend quality time with either their parents or in-laws.
The additional holidays, January 6-7, cannot be availed for any purpose other than to visit elderly parents or in-laws living elsewhere, take them on a trip, or spend time with them at home.
“I will be personally very happy when each of them takes the blessings of their parents at the beginning of the new year so that they can work well for the benefit of the state,” said CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma had announced on the Independence Day that the BJP-led government would grant an extra week’s leave to its employees every year to spend time with their elderly parents.
As finance minister in the erstwhile Sarbananda Sonowal cabinet, Sarma had announced in 2018 that government employees failing to take care of their dependent parents will have 10% of their pay deducted and transferred directly to the latter.
The Assam Employees’ Parent Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring Act, 2017, mandates taking care of dependent parents as well as disabled siblings.
Sarma said although ministers weren’t entitled to leave, the government had allowed them to take some time off from work on the designated days to spend time with their parents or in-laws. “From IAS and IPS officers to Grade IV staff, anyone other than those on field duty can avail this special leave,” he said after the cabinet meeting in lower Assam’s Bongaigaon.
The BJP-led government holds a cabinet meeting every Wednesday, including one outside the state capital on alternate months. The first such cabinet meeting was held in Dhemaji in September. Diphu is the venue for the next one in January.

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