Kathmandu, December 4
The government today forwarded an ordinance related to the adjustment of civil servants in three tiers of government — local, provincial and federal — to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari for approval.
A meeting of the Cabinet yesterday endorsed the ordinance, according to a minister. Upon the enforcement of the ordinance, provincial chief secretaries, secretaries of provincial ministries and chief administrative officers of 753 local levels will be deployed by the federal government. This provision will be in force until provincial laws on hiring civil servants are drafted. As per the ordinance, provincial governments can deploy civil servants anywhere within their respective territories.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who is in Poland to participate in the 24th UN Climate Change Conference, will return on Thursday. After approval by the president, the ordinance must be tabled in the Parliament within 60 days after the Parliament session starts.
According to a minister, the government pushed the ordinance to ease shortage of civil servants at provincial and local levels as the winter session of the Parliament has not yet begun.
The House session is unlikely to begin before mid-January, while lawmakers representing both ruling and opposition parties and former government officials have criticised the government for delaying the Parliament session and seeking the easy route of ordinance on such a crucial issue.
“The government has failed to abide by democratic norms,” former chief secretary Bimal Koirala told THT, adding that the government could have convened the Parliament session earlier if it had felt any urgency. “Bypassing the Parliament is not an ideal practice.”
Nepali Congress, however, has not come up with an official position on the development. NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said they had not yet gone through the ordinance.
Punya Dhakal, who leads the official trade union of government staff, said they would not object to the process if the ordinance addressed their 22-point demand, including deputation at desired location and provision of transfer to the central government through competition. He said they would come up with an official stance once they went through the ordinance.
To monitor, ensure inter-agency coordination and issue necessary directions on civil servant adjustment, a directive and coordination committee will be formed under the coordination of the minister for federal affairs and general administration. The chief secretary, who will be a member of the committee, will lead another facilitator committee which will draft the procedure.
According to the ministry, the country still faces a shortage 14,000 civil servants.
In a nutshell
A version of this article appears in print on December 05, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.