Many stakeholders suggested that the parliamentary State Affairs Committee ensure automatic one-rank promotion for civil servants who will be adjusted in provincial and local governments.
Various stakeholders met SAC members today seeking removal of a provision in the Civil Servants Adjustment Bill which states that civil servants can be sacked if they do not report for duty within 35 days. An under-secretary at the home ministry told THT it was wrong of a democratic government to propose ‘such an autocratic provision’ in the bill.
SAC member Gana Lal Tuladhar said many government employees were concerned about their hierarchy, professional growth and incentives in local and provincial governments. “Civil servants told us they could become secretaries, joint secretaries and even chief secretary in the central government. They wanted to know whether there were prospects of rising up the hierarchy in local and provincial governments,” Tuladhar said, adding that some government officials in the technical field, who did not qualify for adjustment under the bill’s provision, also demanded that they should qualify for adjustment. The bill states that only employees recruited under the Civil Service Act, Parliament Secretariat Act, and Nepal Health Services Act will be adjusted in the three tiers of the government.
A government secretary said it was not clear what the status of employees serving in semi-government bodies and various commissions would be.
Tuladhar said the civil servants’ concerns about incentives and chances of professional growth in provincial and local governments were genuine and the panel would take them positively. “Regarding incentives for those who will be adjusted in the provinces and local levels, it is for the governments concerned to decide. I think we can state some incentives such as ways to ensure career growth and trainings in the bill,” he added. The bill categorises five grounds for adjustment including civil servants’ choice, seniority, and where a civil servant is currently working and the address mentioned in the citizenship certificate.
Sindhu Pandey, treasurer of Nepal Civil Servants’ Trade Union, said if the address in a civil servant’s citizenship certificate is used as a ground for adjustment, many women will be separated from their families as they will be adjusted in districts where they were born.
Chief of Public Service Commission Umesh Prasad Mainali told THT he had suggested that SAC should state objective grounds for adjustment to prevent favouritism or discrimination. Mainali also told SAC the PSC should be consulted on punitive actions to be taken against a civil servant.
The government secretary said the bill should have provisions whereby senior civil servants, whose experience could be useful, could be adjusted at the local levels. “Senior civil servants will retire from service soon and then the local levels can recruit their own employees,” he added. “If the provisions in the bill are not amended, adjusting civil servants will be impossible,” he said.
He added that members of the Parliament were influenced by employees’ union and had moved some amendments on the bill demanding representation of union officials in a coordination committee to be formed under the chief secretary, but if their amendments were accepted, they could adversely impact the efficacy of the civil service.
There are more than 80,000 civil servants in the country.