456 staff withdraw from VRS

Officials say move aimed at motivating staff to work as usual as there was no decision on voluntary retirement

Jul 29, 2018-The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration on Saturday said 456 civil servants who had applied for the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) have withdrawn their applications, The scheme announced on January 12 by the previous government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, 9,656 government employees including five secretaries and 38 joint secretaries had opted for VRS.

Under the scheme, civil servants over 50 years, and who had completed 20 years government service could take VRS.

The current government, led by KP Sharma Oli, which had then protested against the scheme launched by Deuba administration, decided not to implement it immediately. By issuing a notice on June 10, this government gave applicants the opportunity to withdraw their VRS applications.

Ministry officials said the move was to motivate staff to work as usual because there was no decision on implementing VRS and this may take months. As per the notice, 456 applicants have withdrawn applications, according to the Ministry.

Ministry Spokesperson Suresh Adhikari said, “The number of civil servants withdrawing applications is relatively low so far.”

Officials expect the number of withdrawals to rise as the notice has not set a deadline. “Most of those who are retiring soon, have withdrawn their applications to get retirement under normal procedure. However, many who have more time to retire are yet to withdraw. They had applied with the lure of getting pension for seven years in single package,” said Adhikari.

The Employees Adjustment Act has made a provision that those retiring under VRS would get pension of first seven year in single package, and entitled to receive pension for the remaining years under normal process.

Ministry officials said the government is keen to implement the VRS immediately as the Organization and Management (O&M) survey shows the existing number of staff would not be sufficient to run the governments at central, provincial and local governments.

As per the O&M of central and provincial government offices and interim O&M of the local levels, around 123,000 government staff would be required in three tiers of the governments.

Currently, there are around 89,900 civil servants while around 18,000 are there employed by erstwhile local bodies. The government plans to implement VRS only after the employees adjustment process concludes which may take several months. Ministry Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya said, “Only after adjustment process moves ahead, we would know how many staffers do not want to participate in the adjustment process. So, the VRS, if needed, would be implemented after the adjustment process.”

Besides the requirement of additional staff to deliver government services, the huge cost of implementing VRS discourages the government.

The Finance Ministry had estimated Rs30 billion as the cost to retire the 9,656 applicants in a single year. On the other hand, the government needs more staff to implement federalism.

Published: 29-07-2018 07:27

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