Lack of civil servants has seriously impaired service delivery in provinces
Kathmandu, December 16
Legal experts and former bureaucrats have said that the civil servants adjustment ordinance’s provision that mandated civil servants either to report to the deployed office or be ready to quit the job was too harsh and it could do more harm to the country’s administration than serve the purpose.
The government brought the ordinance in the face of the growing criticism by the provincial governments that lack of civil servants had seriously impaired their service delivery, including the work of development projects.
Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari presented a paper on the ordinance at an interaction organised by Kathmandu University School of Law here today, saying that the Public Service Commission had not owned up the ordinance as the government ignored its suggestions. He said the ordinance had mandatory provisions that forced civil servants to choose adjustment. He said there was no clarity in the ordinance as to what would be the terms of condition of the job of employees who chose to be adjusted in the provincial and local governments.
He said there was no clarity as to whether the provisions of the ordinance would also apply to those employees who had been on deputation at the offices of the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, Speaker, federal ministers, chief ministers, provincial speakers and provincial ministers. He also said that there was no clarity in the ordinance as to whether the provisions would also apply to civil servants working for the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and civil servants of revenue group.
Adhikari said the civil servants associations were also dissatisfied with the provisions of the ordinance.
Former Secretary Dayanidhi Sharma said if civil servants did not choose to go to the places the government wanted them to, then not even 30 per cent of the budget could be spent.
He said the federal government could not curtail the powers of the provincial and local governments. “For federal government, there is no alternative to taking the chief ministers and minister of internal affairs and law of the provinces into confidence,” Khatiwada argued.
Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi said the government had brought the ordinance bypassing the Parliament. Former Secretary Dharnidhar Khatiwada said the ordinance did not conform to the spirit of the constitution.
He said civil servants could challenge the government’s decision to adjust a civil servant to a different tier of the government without seeking permission from the PSC. “Civil servants cannot be forced to choose adjustment. Forcing them to join other tiers of the government cannot help bring optimum output, rather such an act can derail the entire adjustment process,” he said.
Former Secretary Balanandh Paudel, who had led the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission, said the federal government made preparation to end legal transition but made no efforts to end administrative transition. He said Province 2 made valid arguments that as per the constitutional provision it was under no obligation to accept federal employees that were recruited by the federal government after the promulgation of the new constitution.
A version of this article appears in print on December 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.