Kathmandu, February 15
The House of Representatives today passed the bill that will replace the Civil Servant Adjustment Ordinance with a majority, paving the way for the federal government to appoint provincial chief secretaries, secretaries of provincial ministries and chief administrative officers of local governments for the time being.
The federal government’s proposal to appoint top provincial and local level officials had previously infuriated lawmakers, as they claimed the centre was trying to centralise power instead of giving authority to sub-national governments to hire employees on their own. Following criticism, the bill has added a provision that states the authority given to the federal government is a stopgap measure and civil servant laws of federal, provincial and local governments will address the issue.
Although the federal government has registered the Federal Civil Servant Bill in the Parliament and provincial governments have started drafting the law, local governments are yet to prepare the document.
Most lawmakers of the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee, including Janardhan Sharma, Pampha Bhusal, Dilendra Badu and Prem Suwal, said the federal, provincial and local civil servant laws should clearly mention that centre, provinces and local levels should be allowed to hire employees on their own.
Lawmakers of the committee have been holding discussions on the bill drafted to replace the Civil Servant Adjustment Ordinance since yesterday. The ordinance, promulgated by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on December 9, is expiring on February 22. The committee members had endorsed the bill this afternoon and forwarded it to the House of Representatives. The legislative document will become defunct once federal, provincial and local civil servant laws are enforced.
Once the bill is signed into law, federal government will have the authority to transfer staff from the centre to provincial and local levels on a permanent basis. This means staff transferred from the centre to sub-national governments cannot rejoin the federal government unless they undergo internal tests. The transfers are expected to address the problem of human resource crunch faced by provincial and local governments.
Once the bill is authenticated by the president, the central government will immediately transfer around 38,000 employees to provinces and local levels, according to Federal Affairs and General Administration Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya. The government has said 753 local levels will require 67,503 civil servants, seven provinces will need 22,755 civil servants and the centre will require 47,920 civil servants.
The bill endorsed today enables the federal government to transfer staff hired by Federal Parliament Secretariat to sub-national governments. The bill also allows provinces and local levels to reach out to the Federal Public Service Commission to hire new employees if staffers transferred from the centre are not adequate to conduct day-to-day works. Sub-national governments can hire employees on their own only after formation of provincial public service commissions. Once provincial public service commissions are formed, sub-national governments can restructure their organisations as well as add or remove staff as per the requirement.
A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.