Panel suggests one-time limit for job reservation

May 15, 2018

Prithvi Man Shrestha, The Kathmandu Post, 15 May 2018

The Federal Administrative Restructuring Committee has suggested providing one-time reservation for an individual employed in the government service by reviewing the existing quota policy.

Since the inclusive policy was adopted in 2007, people from under-represented communities have got more employment opportunities in government service but there have also been complaints of the same set of people benefiting from the policy of positive discrimination multiple times. The committee, which submitted its report to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday, has recommended review of the reservation policy to see if it has yielded the desired results.

After an amendment to the Civil Service Act, 45 percent of total vacant posts were set aside for excluded groups. Of the total posts, women get 33 percent, ethnic groups 27 percent, Madhesis 22 percent, Dalits 9 percent, differently abled 5 percent, and backward regions 4 percent. The government reserves quotas for “excluded” groups in Nepal Army, police forces and teaching jobs too.

Kashiraj Dahal, coordinator of the committee, said the proposed one-time reservation for an individual would benefit others from the same community. “For instance, if one got into civil service through reserved quota, s/he should not be competing in the same quota for promotion,” Dahal clarified.

Government data show that there has been a significant rise in the number of civil servants from these under-represented groups. The percentage of women’s representation in civil service has reached 22.45 percent as of December 2017, from 14.67 percent recorded at the end of the fiscal year 2011-12, according to the Department of Civil Personnel Records.

Entry of women into civil service has also grown from 25.05 percent in the fiscal year 2011-12 to 43.22 percent in FY 2016-17, according to the Public Service Commission.Highlighting the impressive entry of these groups in civil service, the PSC had recommended 43 percent vacant positions for women, 24 percent for indigenous nationalities, 19 percent for Madhesis, 7 percent for backward region, 6 percent for Dalits and 3 percent for those differently abled in the fiscal year 2016-17 in both the open and inclusive categories, according to the PSC’s annual report for FY 2016-17.

Besides recommendation on the inclusion policy, the committee also suggested drafting policies and laws to strengthen ties between the federal, provincial and local governments.For this, it has adopted 32-point guidelines, principles and policies for drafting the laws. The committee has also suggested early legislation for setting up the Provincial Public Service Commission. As suggested, as many as 25 percent civil servants remain under the federal government while the rest go to provincial and local administrations.The committee has suggested cuts in the number of civil servants in all layers of government as a cost-cutting measure.

“But government officials should be trained for taking up multiple responsibilities,” the committee suggests.Although the committee had suggested having 15 ministries at the Centre and seven in each province in the preliminary report, the federal government defied it by setting the number of ministries at 21. The report suggests restructuring government agencies and scrapping regional offices such as the directorates. In order to make civil service more accountable to the people, the committee has suggested establishing a system where officials are judged also by service seekers.

Timely budget, action against government staffers refusing to work well, controlling corruption and strengthening anti-graft agencies are the other suggestions.It has also prepared drafts of a number of policies and laws including the National Policy on Civil Service, Transitional Management Action Plan, and drafts of Administrative Organisa-tional Structure at the Provincial Level, Federal Civil Service Operation Act, Local Service Operation Act, and Provincial Civil Service Operation Act.