Nepal | August 18, 2019

Government employees threaten protest

Jagdishor Panday

Kathmandu, September 19

Civil servants have threatened to launch protest if their demands are not included in the new federal civil service bill, which is under consideration in the Cabinet. The bill will be registered in the Parliament after the Cabinet endorses it.

The draft bill prepared by the Ministry of  Federal Affairs and General Administration is being resented by the government employees for a host of reasons, the prominent of which is the bill’s proposal to strip employees’ of benefits that are given to them under the existing laws.

Another measure reason for the employees’ dissatisfaction is that the bill treats Parliament Secretariat staff as civil servants.

Currently, Parliament Secretariat staff are governed by a separate law which offers them separate pay and perks, including opportunities of promotion. Top officials of the Parliament Secretariat are in favour of this new bill because it allows the top ranking officials to become chief secretary which was not the case in the past. Nevertheless, low-ranking officials of the Parliament Secretariat are opposed to the bill’s provision of mixing Parliament Secretariat staff into civil service. Dissatisfied government employees had, last week, submitted a memorandum to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the MoFAGA opposing the bill’s contents.

They urged the government not to mix all the services into civil service and allow insiders to take part in free competition for jobs. The disgruntled employees have demanded that the bill’s provision that they believe unfairly gives advantage to senior officials for promotion be scrapped.

“We have submitted our demands to the government. They have assured us that they would address our concerns,” said a ministry official, adding, “If the government doesn’t meet our demands, we will launch protests.”

The officer said that the bill unfairly gave advantage to technical officers. “The bill states that a joint secretary from a technical ministry can be secretary of administrative job but a joint secretary from administrative service can’t be a secretary of technical ministry. It is not a fair. This should change,” he added. The bill proposes to bar transfer of special ranking officials from other services to three services — foreign service, audit service and health service.

Disgruntled officers also want the government employees to serve in one tier of the government for four years and be transferred to other tiers of the government on rotation basis. They also demand that the employees be allowed to serve in all tiers of governments in their career.

Government employees oppose the bill’s provision that changes the existing provision on treatment allowance. Under the existing system, non-gazetted officers can get allowance equal to 21 months’ salary without having to submit the treatment bills, but the new bill stipulates that they would get such allowance only if they submitted the treatment bills.

The bill also stipulates that an employee will not get paid leave if he/she goes for further studies at his/her own initiative.

Government employees say all employees irrespective of how they go for further studies, should get paid leave.

The MoFAGA has held discussion with disgruntled employees. MoFAGA Spokesperson Suresh Adhikari said the ministry was of the view that the employees had some genuine demands that needed to be looked into. The bill proposes eight services — engineering, agriculture and forest, justice, foreign, administration, parliament, health and audit.

 


A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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