Provinces are still stuck in slow gear in forming public service commissionsDelay in forming institutional setup may hamper recruitment of staff at provinces and local level through the provincial commissions.
Provincial governments were dissatisfied when the Federal Public Service Commission issued a vacancy notice to hire 9,161 staffers at the local level, as they said it was a breach of provincial jurisdictions.
The move of the Federal Public Service Commission came as per the request from the federal government, which said it would take time to hire staffers as the local level as provinces did not have their provincial public service commissions.
Even months after the brouhaha, provinces are still too slow to form their commissions for hiring staffers for provincial offices as well as local government offices.
Almost all provinces now have endorsed the law on Provincial Pubilc Service Commission. Karnali Province, however, is making some revisions, according to officials from provinces.
The tardy approach to making laws and appointing officer bearers is expected to delay the fresh recruitment of staffers at provincial and local levels, although most of them have complained about a shortage of employees for delivering services.
When it comes to appointing officer bearers, most of them have been too slow.
Province 5 became the first to appoint the chairperson of the commission, picking Dilaram Bhattarai as chairperson on August 13. Province 2 has also appointed the chairman of its provincial public service commission recently.
“We are now working on regulations and directives for our functioning,” said Bhattarai of Province 4 public service commission. “We will soon prepare a course of study for the examinations.”
With the province yet to appoint two other members of the commission, these regulations and directives will not come into force immediately as at least two commission members need to endorse them.
The commission has plans to be ready for recruitment by mid-April next year, provided that the Provincial Civil Serice Act and Local Government Service Act are introduced and demands of employees are made as per those laws.
With the federal parliament yet to endorse the Federal Civil Service Law, it may take more time to introduce provincial and local laws on staff recruitment.
Province 2 was the most vocal critic of the Federal Public Service Commission’s move to recruit fresh staff.
In the third week of April, Chief Minister Lal Babu Pandit had written to Federal Public Service Commission not to initiate the recruitment process, citing it is against the constitution.
Province 2 was relatively late in introducing the law but became the second province to appoint the chairperson for the commission.
Shankar Prasad Subedi, secretary at Chief Minister’s Office of Province 2, admitted that there was some delay in making laws and appointing the chairman.
“We have a two-party government, and it sometimes contributes to delay in certain works,” said Subedi.
These two provinces, however, are yet to appoint other two members of the commission. Both of them have only appointed the chairperson of the commission.
Other provinces have shown little interest in appointing officials. It took more time for Province 1 to make a law on the formation of the commission. The provincial assembly had passed the law about a month ago. “But, the process to appoint officials has not moved ahead yet,” said Bharatmani Rijal, secretary (law) at Province 1 Chief Minister’s Office. “The issue of appointing office bearers at the commission is a political matter.”
Although Karnali Province was among the early movers to introduce the law on the formation of the commission, it is still working on revising it after some ‘technical errors’ appeared in the text of the law.
The error, according to Bal Sagar Giri, secretary at Karnali Chief Minister’s Office, is related to the single provision being mentioned in two different places and some other provisions being left out.
“The Karnali government is now carrying out paperwork to amend the law. Only after the text of the law is revised, the office-bearer can be appointed,” he said.
Karnali is facing a shortage of staff as the government employees did not prefer to go to the region, which is the most remote and inaccessible place of the country.
According to Giri, Karnali Province is yet to see the required number of employees as fresh Organisation and Management Survey showed that the provincial government needs 2,555 employees.
When it comes to Sudurpaschim Province, it is also late in appointing office bearers at the commission.
“It has been around 2-3 months since the law was passed by the assembly. But officer bearers have not been appointed yet,” said Jagadish Joshi, information officer at Sudoorpashcim Chief Minister’s Office. The province, which is relatively impoverished, is yet to get even half of the required employees.
“Of the total seats of 2,311, only 1,300 have been employed so far under the provincial government,” said Joshi. “Particularly, most of the technical staff have yet to be appointed.”
Although most of the provincial governments admit that they are late in introducing laws and appointing office bearers at the commission, it will take even longer to make fresh recruitment at provincial and local levels by the provincial commission.
With Province 5 commission eying to start recruitment from April next year, other provinces are likely to take even longer to start recruitment as office bearers are yet to be appointed. Besides, the provincial Civil Service Act and the Local Government Service Act are also needed.
“How can we start the recruitment process without clarity on their service and conditions, which are defined by civil service laws, for the employees?” said Giri.