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Indian public servant sacked after 24-year sickie

The Indian government has sacked a civil servant who went on leave in 1990 and never came back to work.

Proving the Australian Public Service's long-termĀ battle against sickies is nothing compared to the problems faced abroad.

Urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said a case of "wilful absence" had been proved against electrical engineer AK Verma.

After joining the Central Public Works Department in 1980, Mr Verma rose to the rank of executive engineer by 1990, when he went on leave, the BBC reports.

An inquiry was set up in 1992 and Mr Verma refused to co-operate, but formal proceedings to dismiss him were not begun until 2007.

It took a further seven years for the department to reach a decision and dismiss him.

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It is unclear whether he was paid during his time off.

India's bureaucracy has become notorious for high levels of absenteeism.

A report in 2012 labelled India's government machinery the worst in Asia.

Schools have also faced problems, with teachers failing to turn up for work in huge numbers.

Last August, a state school in Madhya Pradesh sacked a teacher who had been absent for 23 years of her 24-year career.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to curb slack working practices when he took office last year.

He is reported to make unannounced visits to government offices, and absenteeism has since plummeted.