Editorial: Scrap the perks

There must be a set criteria based on which an individual should be rewarded with a certain percentage of grade or promotion for excellent performance

The government takes most of its decisions in an ad hoc basis without considering their consequences in the long run. It has been revealed that the council of ministers provides billions of rupees to the government staffers as motivation allowance for the jobs they do for which they are hired. There is a general tendency in the bureaucracy, where civil servants draw monthly salary for attending office demand more – either as a form of motivation allowance, dearness allowance or remoteness allowance – as incentive for the actual work they are supposed to do during office hours. The most powerful government agencies such as Land Revenue Office, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Parliament Secretariat, National Vigilance Centre, the CIAA, Public Procurement Monitoring Office, District Treasury Controller Office, courts, Office of the Attorney General, Election Commission and the recently-formed National Reconstruction Authority are some facilities which have been receiving motivation allowance as per the cabinet decision. The government has to cough up around Rs. 1.5 billion per annum from the state coffers simply to pay for the motivation allowance. This trend started when the then finance minister Baburam Bhattarai decided to provide 200 percent allowance to staffers working in revenue departments and customs offices.

Former top bureaucrats have criticized the government for providing such incentive without any ‘justification’ and ‘performance’ of the given offices. Such allowances should be based on the nature of work load and performance of an individual staffer, not on the office as a whole. A person who performs better than any other employees should be given promotion or reward. This kind of preferential treatment to the government staffers working in certain offices de-motivates others who do not get such facilities. This is the reason why most of the employees want to get transferred in those offices where they get extra allowance without doing extra work. No indicators of individual performance have been set up to determine who should get how much allowance on a yearly basis.

This is the misuse of state coffers in the name of providing motivation or incentives to the employees. Are these the only offices burdened with additional work loads while others are idle? These are  government facilities which always have an easy access to the power corridor and influence the council of ministers to fulfill their demands. There are several other equally important government facilities which also need motivation allowance or other forms of incentives. The government must stop such kind of discrimination against its own employees. There must be a set criteria based on which an individual should be rewarded with a certain percentage of grade or promotion for excellent performance, not on the basis of the office where they are working. If any allowance is to be given to any of the employee(s) it must be done for his/her outstanding services to the public, contribution to making reforms on policies and programmes and timely execution of development project that benefits a large section of population.

No blood banks

The lack of blood banks in the Far-West districts is posing to be a major health problem. As they lack  blood banks the Safe Motherhood Programme of the government is in big trouble. It has come to light that two doctors in Baitadi and Dadeldhura donated their blood in order to save the lives of two mothers undergoing caesarian surgery. Such services require blood for the patients and, as there is no blood banks in these districts, patients are referred to Kailali and Kanchanpur. Although a blood bank was established by the Nepal Red Cross Society, Dadeldhura Chapter with assistance from India two years ago, it has not been properly managed so it is unable to provide blood in case of emergencies.

So the only option remaining for those desperately needing blood is to appeal to the health workers and even security personnel to donate blood. The blood bank set up in Achham about a year ago is still to start service. Many pregnant women lose their lives untimely as there is a severe shortage of blood in the Far-West. Something needs to be done urgently to save the lives of women as well as other patients who require blood from donors by establishing blood banks and encouraging people to donate blood.