The Ministry of Forests and Environment has implemented its Internal Control Procedure 2021 to enhance public accountability and transparency through austerity measures and effective performance, while ensuring an efficient financial system.

The procedure recently released by the MoFE will be applicable to the ministry and its subordinate departments and offices.

It has set six objects, including assurance of effective and speedy service delivery, prevention of loss or damage and misuse of resources, economical, transparent and accountable public expenditure, credible record-keeping and reporting system, compliance with prevailing laws and rules, and enhancement of good governance.

The procedure requires all the employees under the ministry to perform their work at office in an honest, disciplined and impartial manner. No one is allowed to be absent without permission from a higher level official.

Similarly, it has made dress code with identity card mandatory during office hours.

"No employee shall accept any gift or financial and physical benefits from any person or organisation for their work under the law," it says. The procedure also bars employees from expressing opinion on politics on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Likewise, the ministry and its subordinate departments and offices shall not form a separate committee or task forces for any study, research and investigation that can be carried out from the existing governmental mechanism. However, experts may be hired on contract basis for special works. "While fulfilling any vacant post, the concerned agency shall strictly follow the provisions articulated in the Civil Service Act and Rules," the procedure reads.

In yet another restriction, no office-bearer shall engage office employees in their personal and domestic chores. Similarly, the procedure prohibited participation of employees in any workshop, symposium and training without permission from the authority concerned.

The procedure has also restricted the deputation of employees for daily administrative business. "After an employee is transferred to another work station, he/she shall be provided with a letter of transfer only after handover of cash, goods, documents and vehicles, among others, that were in his custody," it says.

The procedure requires higher level authorities to demonstrate exemplary works to encourage juniors to follow suit.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 5, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.