Incentives denied to TRC, CIEDP staffers

Kathmandu, July 16

The government has refused to provide incentives to staffers of transitional justice bodies, saying they ‘didn’t perform satisfactorily’ to draw extra benefits from the state coffers.

It is learnt that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons were among the offices seeking additional allowances for their employees. They had claimed cash incentives equal to or fifty percent of their salary for the period between mid-July 2015 to mid-July 2016.

However, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers rejected the proposal before it was floated at the Cabinet meeting for consideration, it is learnt.

Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi confirmed that the proposal for additional incentives was dismissed on the ground that the salary of government staffers has been hiked heftily.

“We didn’t see any logic to provide extra allowances as the salaries of government staffers have been hiked by 25 per cent,” he added.

A senior bureaucrat privy to the matter told The Himalayan Times that the claim to additional perks was rejected because of unsatisfactory work progress. “We found out that these provisional bodies largely failed to deliver and live up to public expectation,” the bureaucrat said.

The TRC and the CIEDP have yet to commence inquiry into thousands of conflict-era rights violation complaints even as they have less than seven months to settle the cases.

Staffers of the TRC and CIEDP have been receiving Rs 500 as allowance every working day for the past few months. But, they had sought cent per cent incentives for the period when the two bodies mostly remained dormant.

Later, the Ministry of Finance had recommended providing TRC and CIEDP staffers only 50 per cent incentive, but this was also rejected by the government.

“We couldn’t consider providing extra incentives for the time when the staffers were largely inactive,” said an official. “It would be a sheer misuse of the state-coffers.” The real works of these bodies were visible only after they started collecting complaints from the conflict victims since mid-April.

The government, however, decided to provide at least 50 to 100 per cent incentive to staffers of the Offices of the President, Vice-President, Public Procurement Monitoring Office, National Vigilance Centre and the National Reconstruction Authority.

TRC member Madhabi Bhatta said the TRC has received over 50,000 complaints, and these have to be investigated within a short span of time.