Nepal | March 20, 2019

EDITORIAL: Career concerns

The Himalayan Times

Provinces will be able to fulfill the shortfall of employees through Provincial Public Service Commission once federal Parliament enacts an umbrella act

Dissident civil servants are in agitation for the last three weeks over the newly-enforced Civil Servant Adjustment Ordinance which was tabled in the first meeting federal Parliament which commenced on December 26. The civil servants who had been working under the central government till the country switched towards federal structure are especially worried that the prospect of their “careergrowth” would be curtailed if they are deployed either at provinces or at local levels. Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit has assured of addressing their concerns duly when the government tables a replacement bill to the ordinance which came into force on December 9. However, the bureaucrats who are considered to be the permanent body of the government are not convinced with what the minister has said so far. One of the major concerns of the civil servants is that they should not be prevented from being transferred to the centre once they are adjusted either to the provinces or the local levels. However, the ordinance, which was enforced suspending the Civil Servant Adjustment Act enacted last year, is silent on the transfer issue.

This is the main issue over which the civil servants are in agitation. The federal parliament should clear this confusion when it starts discussions on thebill to replace the ordinance within 60 days of its tabulation. The government claim is that the ordinance had to be issued to adjust various levels of bureaucrats in seven provinces and 753 local levels for the time being until the provinces and local levels are able to hire their own employees as per the law they enact under the purview of umbrella law passed by federal parliament. An estimated 137,371 employees (47,920 at the centre, 22,685 at provinces and 66,766 at local levels) would be required to make the three tiers of government fully functional. There is still a shortfall of around 14,000 employees. Provinces  will be able to fulfill the shortfall of employees through Provincial Public Service Commission once federal Parliament enacts an umbrella act to this effect.

Before the country switched to the federal structure all civil servants and police force were working under direct control and command of the unitary government, no matter wherever they got transferred. The prospects of their careergrowth were not blocked even if they were transferred to serve in remote districts. The grievances redressal panel formed by the government should allay fears of the civil servants until the ordinance is replaced with a new act. The civil servants who are transferred to the provinces or local levels will not perform well if they are forced-transferred. There must be an unequivocal legal provision under which all civil servants shall get an equal opportunity to attain the highest post of bureaucracy – chief secretary – as per their qualification and performance. When the lawmakers from both the aisles discuss the replacement bill of the ordinance they must pay heed tothe genuine issues – the natural rights tocareerdevelopment – raised by the civil servants. The replacement bill also must envisage giving more incentives to those employees who serve in the lowest level of government and in the remote areas.


Nursing service

The Ministry of Health and Population is planning to appoint a nurse in each local level throughout the country. Spokesperson of the ministry Mahednra Shrestha said nurses would be appointed in all 753 local levels. The purpose of appointing a nurse in each of the local levels along with health officials is to make proper planning and monitoring of the health sector at local levels where general people get basic health services and maternity and childcare services.

This provision will create more jobs at local levels with effective health services. More than 5,000 nurses are produced in the country every year. But they were not getting proper placements due to the government’s poor planning. According to World Health Organisation 2.5 medical staff (physician, nurses and midwives) per 1,000 population are needed to provide adequate coverage with primary care interventions. Studies have shown that nurses, midwives and health assistants have played a significant role in reducing child and maternal mortality rate in the country, especially in rural areas where doctor’s service is still a luxury. This is a welcome move.

 


A version of this article appears in print on December 31, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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