Plan to transform civil servicesThe Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has initiated discussion on transforming the country’s civil service into level-based system to ensure officials fast promotions while easing their readjustment in the three-tier government.
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has initiated discussion on transforming the country’s civil service into level-based system to ensure officials fast promotions while easing their readjustment in the three-tier government.
The government currently follows a dual system in civil service—level-based and class-based. Of the total 86,120 civil servants, 61,507 are managed under the class-based system while 24,940 staffers are employed under various levels. Except for civil servants under the Health Ministry, all the employees under other ministries have the class-based hierarchy.
The basic idea for adopting the level-based system is to ensure that civil servants get timely opportunity for promotion which will enhance their efficiency, officials involved in the debate said.
“We are looking to implement the layer-based system for two reasons—benefits for civil servants and easing the employee adjustment process at the federal, provincial and local levels,” said Suresh Adhikari, spokesperson for the Federal Affairs Ministry.
Civil servants’ promotion from one level to another will be much faster if the level-based system, recommended by various studies, is implemented, according to officials.
The ministry’s current exercise is in line with the recommendations of a study team led by Madhunidhi Tiwari in 2007 and the report of the Administration Restructuring Commission Mahendra Narayan Misra in November 2008. The Tiwari-led team suggested 20 levels in civil service while Misra’s team recommended 19 levels.
“Even if the system cannot be implemented immediately in civil service under the federal government, we are preparing to have it at the local and provincial levels,” said Adhikari.
About 22,000 staffers recruited by the erstwhile local bodies maintain a level-based hierarchy. “Once the system is implemented at the local and provincial levels, it will encourage replication of the system at the Centre too.”
Currently there are five positions under the gazetted class with chief secretary remaining at the top. Under the class system, it takes around 10 years for a gazetted third-class officer (section officer) to be promoted to under-secretary. This makes the section officer’s journey to chief secretary painfully long.
Under the level-based system, such promotions will be relatively faster as promotion from one position to another will take four years on an average. The Federal Civil Service Bill draft is silent on implementing the level-based system at the federal level. But Adhikari said discussions are going on to incorporate the issue through amendment.
Over half a dozen commissions and committees since the Administration Reform Commission (1975-76) headed by former minister and diplomat Bhekh Bahadur Thapa recommended implementing the level-based system, successive governments have failed to implement the suggestions.
According to former chief secretary Bimal Koirala, past efforts to implement the level-based system failed due to differences over how to translate class into levels. “Trade unions that first demanded level-based system created difficulties in enforcing the system by demanding higher level for every official of the same class,” he said.
But senior civil servants were against the level system. Their unwillingness to implement the new system was blamed for its failure, experts on administration said.
“The mentality of senior civil servants remained such that level-based system would hurt their pride,” said Umesh Mainali, chairman of the Public Service Commission.
Who recommended ‘level based’ ranking
- Administration Reform Commission (1975-76)
- Administration Reform Commission-1992
- Study Report on 25-year Master Plan for Public Administration-1998
- Study Report on taking civil service into layer based system-2007
- Administrative Reform Commission-2009
- Administration Reform Recommendation Committee-2013
Source: The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration