General

Minister plans revised VRS for civil servants

  • Lal Babu Pandit says most civil staff should adjust instead of retiring
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Mar 20, 2018-The Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit on Monday said the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for government employees would be implemented in revised format.

Minister Pandit said that the VRS scheme would be revised in a way so that most of the government staffers would have to go for adjustment process instead of retiring.

This decision follows strong criticism over the VRS for government employees,

The scheme launched by previous Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government drew strong criticism from Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Minister Pandit due to high cost involved in retiring a large number of government staff.

As per Employees Adjustment Act, those participating in the VRS are entitled to get pension for seven years collectively and additional pensions beyond seven years as per the law. The government will have to make payment of over Rs30 billion for retiring 9,656 government employees including five secretaries and 38 joint secretaries who have applied for VRS.

With three-tier governments in place now, 75 percent of the total government staff will have to be adjusted in provincial and local governments in the new federal set up. However, large numbers of government employees are still reluctant to take up provincial and local governments workstations despite central government’s directives.

The Oli government is of the view that civil servants should go to designated offices or face action. In a meeting with the representatives of civil servants on Saturday, PM Oli said the government will not tolerate any non-cooperation from the civil servants in the federal set up.

Despite current government’s reservation over the VRS scheme, it is yet to take any formal decision regarding the scheme. A Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Secretary said there has not been any decision on whether to go ahead with the scheme or scrap it.

“There has been no discussion on the issue so far,” said Mahendra Man Gurung, Secretary at the PMO. At a time when the government struggles to arrange resources even to run daily administrative and development activities, it is in uncomfortable position to arrange the funds for the VRS.

As of March 18, the government is facing budgetary deficit of Rs128 billion, according to Financial Comptroller General Office, which has made funding for VRS challenging.

The VRS scheme along with reducing age limit of elderly people to receive elderly benefit to 65 years are the two costliest decisions taken by the previous Deuba government before giving up power.

The Finance Ministry has said it is in no position to arrange funds for making all the payments required for the government staff willing to retire under the VRS.

Finance Secretary Shankar Bahadur Adhikari said that the ministry could arrange limited budget only to implement the scheme on installment basis only. “It will be appropriate for the government to rethink on the scheme,” he told the Post.

As per the Act, the government staff entitled to receive pension and have crossed the age of 50 years, can choose VRS.  However, officials at the PMO and the Ministry of General Administration said the government is yet to take decision on this matter. As per the clause of the Act, the previous government led by Deuba had made public the VRS scheme.

Published: 20-03-2018 08:44

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