Province 5 creates is own Provincial Public Service CommissionDelay in introducing Federal Civil Service Act, however, is likely to cause delay in staff recruitment in the province.
Amid ongoing controversy over Public Service Commission’s hiring of staff for the local level, the Province 5 government has taken a major step towards recruiting staff on its own.
The Province 5 has created its Provincial Public Service Commission and appointed Dilaram Bhattarai as its chairman. The move means the provincial government can hire staff for the province and local units on its own.
Ramesh Pokharel, chief of the High Court in Dang, administered the oath of office to Bhattarai on Tuesday.
“Bhattarai has been appointed for a six-year term. The other two members of the commission are yet to be appointed,” said Yamkanta Pandya, information officer at the Chief Minister’s Office of Province 5.
Meanwhile, officials at both the federal and provincial governments have said that the provincial public service commission still has a long way to go before it starts recruiting staff, because the Federal Civil Service Act and Provincial Civil Service Act are yet to be introduced.
“Provincial public service commissions cannot recruit staff for provinces and local bodies until the duties and facilities of the employees are clear,” said Kiran Raj Sharma, spokesperson for the Federal Public Service Commission. “For this, the Provincial Civil Service Act determines the conditions of services for employees to be recruited by the provincial commission.”
Likewise, the Local Service Act will be necessary to recruit staff at the local level. But before these laws are introduced, the Federal Civil Service Act should be passed.
The House of Representatives is yet to endorse the bill on Federal Civil Service Act, though it was registered at the parliamentary secretariat on February 10.
Without public service commissions, provincial governments and local units across the country are reeling under staff shortage.
To address the issue, the federal government had asked the Federal Public Service Commission to start the process to recruit staff in 515 local units, saying that the provinces were yet to create their own public service commissions.
The vacancies announced by the Public Service Commission to hire staff at the local and provincial levels, however, have drawn ire from various ethnicities and groups, who say the vacancies do not honour the policy of inclusion and reservation.
The provincial governments have also criticised the federal government’s move.
They are of the view that as per Article 227 of the Constitution, matters related to employees and offices of the village councils and municipalities are dealt with as per provincial laws.
The federal Public Service Commission went ahead with its vacancy notice, citing Section 12 (5 and 6) of the Employees Adjustment Act, which states that the federal government can request the Public Service Commission to start the recruitment process for filling the vacant posts until provincial public service commissions are formed.
The provincial governments have blamed the delay on the part of the federal government for the roadblock in staff recruitment.
While Province 5 has formed its public service commission, six other provinces are still in the lawmaking stage to form their respective commissions.
The Province 2 Assembly recently passed a bill paving the way for the formation of the provincial public service commission.
“But the process to appoint the commission’s office-bearers has not yet begun,” said Komal Bahadur Khatri, secretary at Chief Minister’s Office of Province 2.
He said that the provincial government would expedite the recruitment process once other related laws are introduced.
The Karnali Province Assembly had passed the bill on forming the commission long ago. But Keshav Prasad Upadhyay, spokesperson at the Chief Minister’ Office, said no move has been taken so far to appoint the office-bearers.
Province 3 and Gandaki Province appear to be much slower in making laws regarding the commissions.
Province 3 Principal Secretary Anandaraj Dhakal said the provincial government was preparing to register a bill on forming public service commission within the third week of August.
Gandaki Province, which recently registered a bill on the formation of public service commission, also does not seem to be in a rush.
“Firstly, the federal parliament should pass the Federal Civil Service Act to pave the way for introducing Provincial Civil Service Act and Local Service Act,” said Hari Basyal, principal secretary of Gandaki Province. “It will not take much time for the formation of commission at the provincial level once other necessary laws are in place.”