M A I N   N E W S

Haryana Govt dept prescribes ‘decent’ dress code for staff
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
As if khaps of Haryana were not enough to guard the “conservative” image of the state and the skewed sex ratio did not underline the male dominance in society adequately, the Haryana Women and Child Department (WCD) has now passed a diktat to enforce “decent” office dressing for its staff.

This becomes all the more pronounced given the fact that everybody from the minister to the Financial Commissioner, the Principal Secretary and the Director, WCD, are all women.

The directive, issued by a superintendent for the then Director (she was transferred as the Deputy Commissioner, Karnal, in the reshuffle effected on May 4), Renu S Phulia, heading a department working for women development, was passed a fortnight back and circulated to the field staff last week.

The department, in a recent circular to its staff (a copy of which is in the possession of The Tribune) has virtually banned wearing jeans and T-shirts to office. These employees are deployed under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

Branding jeans and T-shirts as indecent, the staff has been advised to wear “decent clothes” to the office. The circular issued by the office superintendent for the Director, Women and Child Development Department, Haryana, goes on to describe what “decent” means. It clearly states that “decent clothes” include “saree/salwar kameez with dupatta” for women and a pant-shirt combination for men.

The circular says “it has been observed that some officers/officials come to office in jeans/T-shirts/western dresses which sometimes not only look odd but are also in contravention of government rules”. These orders must be “complied with strictly with immediate effect”, the circular says.

It goes on to add that failing to comply with these orders would be “viewed seriously”. Besides, it directs the branch officers to ensure that officials working under their control comply with the orders.

The directive has caused resentment among the staff in the field since most of them are women. They are completely at sea about whom to approach and how. “We are working women, fighting for protecting the status of women. This order, then, seems rather ridiculous since the department does not even allow us to choose the clothes we want to wear,” a staffer in the field rues.

Renu S Phulia could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts. The messages left with her staff at the DC office, her guesthouse and on her mobile failed to elicit any response. Senior officers of the department, as also the minister, were not available for comments.

Haryana, a picture of stark contrasts, has a girl topping the civil services examination on the one hand and a diktat defining “decent clothes” to office on the other; sportswomen doing the state proud and girls being “sacrificed” in the name of honour; some climbing the Mount Everest to earn accolades and others not being allowed to come into the world.


n A circular issued by the WCD brands jeans and T-shirts as indecent dressing

n It advises staff to wear ‘decent clothes’ to the office

n Only ‘saree/salwar kameez with dupatta’ for women and pant-shirt combination for men fit in department’s definition of decent dressing

n Staff has also been warned that failure to comply with the order will be viewed seriously





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