Kathmandu, August 13
Lawmakers representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), who belong to former CPN-Maoist Centre, and the main opposition Nepali Congress have criticised the Federal Civil Servant Bill, saying it proposed to authorise the centre to appoint and transfer top officials at sub-national governments.
The bill which is being discussed at the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee in the parliament stated that chief secretaries of provinces, secretaries of provincial ministries and chief administrative officials of local governments shall be appointed by the federal government. It also proposed that the federal government shall transfer any secretaries of any ministries of the provincial governments, who have already been adjusted in respective provinces. Speaking at the SAGGC meeting today, NCP lawmaker and former Maoist leader Maheshwor Jung Gahatraj criticised the bill’s provision to allow the federal government to appoint and transfer secretaries from ministries of provincial governments. “It’s against the spirit of federalism,” he said, adding that there should be a provision which allows the provincial governments to appoint and transfer administrative heads at local levels. NCP lawmakers and former Maoist leaders including Yasoda Subedi and Rekha Sharma also echoed with Gahatraj.
NC lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu said the provinces should be made independent. “The chief secretaries and secretaries in the ministries of the provinces should be promoted from the same provinces,” he said. Another NC Lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh criticised the centre for curtailing the rights of local levels. “With such provision in the bill, the government is trying to make a mockery of federalism.” Majority of the lawmakers at the SAGGC said that the centre was trying to centralise power instead of giving authority to sub-national governments to hire employees on their own.
Lawmakers representing the ruling NCP, who belong to former CPN-UML, however, defended the bill’s provision. “The bill’s provision will connect the central government with the provincial and local governments,” said NCP lawmaker and former UML leader Jhapat Rawal. NCP lawmakers including Khaga Raj Adhikari and Ram Kumari Jhakari from the then UML also urged al to support the bill.
Defending the bill, Minister of Federal Affairs and Good Governance Lal Babu Pandit told the committee that it was just a stopgap measure. “The bill’s provision which gives authority to transfer and appoint heads at the federal and local governments is an interim mechanism while the civil servant laws of federal, provincial and local governments, once formulated, will address the issue,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on August 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.