Hassles in deploying officials to local level

  • Despite dire warnings, hardly 581 gazetted officials deployed so far
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Jul 16, 2017-More than a month since the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers directed all the ministries to deploy the required strength of staff in the local federal units immediately, a majority of the ministries are struggling to follow the directives owing to the reluctance of the civil servants.

Concluding that the local units where the elections were held on May 14 in the first phase were struggling to function in the lack of the required number of officials, the PMO on June 11 directed all the ministries to deploy officials immediately.

The ministries were told to assign staffs to the local level units as recommended by the Local Level Restructuring Commission. 

The LLRC has proposed 70 officials in each local unit on an average led by either an under-secretary or a section officer in rural municipalities, under-secretary in municipalities and sub-metropolitan cities and joint-secretary in the metropolis.

Hardly three of the 30 ministries are able to deploy the officials as per the directives. 

The other ministries have largely been struggling to send the staffs to the local level. According to Dinesh Thapaliya, secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), only the Ministry of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation have fully done the job. He also said that deploying technical workers like engineers and doctors has been more difficult. The LLRC has proposed at least one engineer in each local body.

“There has been no expected progress in deploying the staff,” he added. Among the 83,200 civil servants, some 40 percent will be sent to the local level. Records at 

the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA) show that hardly 581 gazetted staffers, a majority of them under-secretaries, have been deputed.

MoGA Spokesman Shiva Ram Neupane said the government has yet to fix the exact number of officials to be deployed at the local level. He, however, said the progress was not satisfactory.

Officials have demanded “respectable” positions and promotion to take up their new assignments. 

The Education Ministry, for instance, is in a fix as the under-secretaries are demanding the post of executive head of the local bodies, rather than working under another under-secretary from the MoFALD. The government has assigned staff from the ministry to head the local bodies.

The union of civil servants has asked the government not to transfer officials in haste. The Civil Servants Trade Union, in a statement on Wednesday, asked the government to put the plans on hold and assign officials only in consultation with it. 

“Otherwise, the government will be solely responsible for any unforeseen situation arising in the future,” warns the statement issued by Punya Prasad Dhakal, the union chair.

Officials say the union is lobbying with lawmakers to amend the Civil Servants Adjustment Bill, which mandates the sacking of officials who fail to join their duty within 35 days of deployment. 

They are also lobbying for provision of one level promotion. With deliberation on the bill over on Wednesday, the legislation will be tabled in Parliament for endorsement after amendments are registered by Saturday.

Published: 16-07-2017 08:32

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