Reform Consultative meet
Organised by the Administrative Reform
Recommendation Committee (ADRC)
22 December 2013, Kathmandu
Report Prepared by Ritu Raj Subedi
With the nation set to be restructured
into the new federal set-up, its administrative body is waiting
for to be shaped into similar composition. So, the reasoned deliberations
on the issue are highly imperative to this end. Its effectiveness,
accountability and professionalism have been always high on the
agenda of the administrative reform commissions formed in the
past. Like the new political system, Nepal's administrative sector
is also beset with multiple challenges. Making the service delivery
effective and hold the civil servants accountable to the people
is a must if it is to sail smoothly in the federal republic journey
of the country. The bureaucrats often complain of being the victim
of the chronic political intervention. Drawing a clear boundary
between the politics and bureaucracy is necessary to professionalize
it and ensure its integrity. With the change of time, the civil
servants should also change their attitudes and behaviours. They
must realise that they are the servants of the people, not order-imposing
agents of the leviathan of government bureaucracy.
In order to diagnose its problems and recommend
their practical solution, the government had constituted the
Administrative Reform Recommendation Committee (ADRC)some time
ago. The committee has reached a final stage to prepare its
report. As the part of final deliberation, the committee organized
a seminar 'the Administrative Reform Consultative Programme'
in Kathmandu to solicit the ideas of ex and incumbent secretaries
on the administrative reforms. The incumbent and ex-bureaucrats
put forth their opinions frankly on the management of civil
servants under the new federal set-up, the role of Office of
Prime Minister and implementation of the reports prepared so
far for the administrative reform.
Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel: Reform measures
could be implemented at any time and any place wherever they
are needed. It is naivety to say that the administrative measures
should be applied only if there is a stable government in the
country. We should not hunt for ideal bureaucracy. Even small
changes send a positive message to the public. The provision
of sending the civil servants abroad for training and other
programmes is not bearing fruit. The employees are least concerned
about knowledge and skill they are supposed to obtain from the
visits. They are concerned only about the monetary benefits.
There is tendency of same officers going foreign countries repeatedly.
Some employees say that the visit does not incur financial burden
on the government. I do not understand this logic. Since the
government has invested million of rupees on them, how could
there not be economic burden on the government?
There is the need for the flexibility when
it comes to providing resources to the secretaries so that they
perform well. The procedural sanctity must not be compromised.
We should introduce a provision that before being appointed
secretary, s/he must have worked in financial institutions or
have knowledge on economic issues and planning. Taking a departmental
action against any employee has become not effective as his/her
job is secure. The big punishment they face is a transfer. The
provision of job guarantee had affected their efficiency. There
should be the assessment of the performance of secretaries so
that the bureaucracy would be result-oriented and responsive
to the service seekers. The government is setting up a research
institute to utilize the expertise and experiences for former
bureaucrats. The tradition of letting the ministries carry out
research and study the project must be brought to an end. The
management should be research-oriented. The PM office is alert
whether it is involved in the micro-management of other ministries.
The government will attempt to implement the report.
Kashi Raj Dahal, Chairman of Administrative
Court and Administrative Reform Recommendation Committee: The
ADRC has reached a final stage to submit its report to the government.
The report that contains 23 chapters will recommend the government
for making bureaucracy effective, efficient and accountable
to the public. The report will not recommend any ambitious suggestions
but the modest ones that can be implemented to make our administrative
procedures pragmatic and efficient. The committee has consulted
with the concerned stakeholders while preparing the report.
The constitution should clearly spell out
about the norms of bureaucracy and contents of democracy. It
must have provisions specifying the foreign and security policy,
local government and the number of the ministries. The executive
parliament should have the right to decide the number of the
Our bureaucracy has faced various problems
that have posed obstacles to achieve the goal of good governance.
They can be put forth in following points-
1. To change the number of ministries and
portfolios without any basis and relevance,
2. The tendency to create new administrative structures without
need and ground,
3. Not giving attention to the basic requirements needed to
sustain the administrative organizations/structures after they
4. There is the politicization of the administration and tendency
to escape from the responsibility owing to the lack of clear
boundary line between the politics and administration,
5. It has become difficult to maintain professionalism and impartiality
in the administration as the trade unions are active in the
backing of the political parties,
6. There is not proper use of the provisions of inclusiveness
in the absence of objective and scientific criteria although
it needs to be enforced in the public administration,
7. The responsible persons of the service provider agencies
have shown more interests in the foreign junket than providing
services to the people,
8. The service delivery has not become effective and efficient
owing to several factors,
9. There is lacking strong willpower to prevent and control
corruption and irregularities though the legal provisions and
mechanisms were created to that end.
The report has attempted to include the suggestions
aimed at solving the aforementioned problems. In the similar
manner, the consolidation of the constitutional and local bodies
is equally necessary. There is the need for reviewing the existing
Acts and laws in order to attract competent and able persons
into the public administration. For this, the government should
address the different aspects of civil service such as service
condition, transfer and promotion, career development, capacity
building, scheme for successor grooming, service after retirement
and implement code of conduct to set the behavioural values
of employees. Likewise, we need to search for necessary measures
to adopt the e-governance in the public administration. To maintain
fiscal discipline, the Acts and Regulations related to the economic
administration and their implementation should be reviewed.
We should identity the reform areas in the field of education
and health that are directly related to the people's life. Effective
measures should be pursued to protect the consumers' interest
in addition to bringing uniformity in the opportunity for workforce
and facilities under the public service sector. Special measures
need to be applied to strengthen service delivery in the remote
areas. In the similar manner, the country foreign and security
policies require reforms. There should not be delay in introducing
the new strategies to revamp the management of the public enterprises.
The report has attempted to address these and other issues.
It is not prepared by reading only books but soliciting the
ideas from the ministries. Loktantra becomes robust and vibrant
only if the parliament is strong. The lawmakers should be honest
and competent. Likewise, the judiciary should be able to maintain
its impartiality and integrity.
Surya Nath Upadhyay, former chief commissioner
of the Commission of the Investigation of Abuse of Authority:
The PM office should focus on devising the foreign and security
policies. It should appoint specialists for the purpose. The
new statute should mention the federal structure of the administration
so that it will be easily implemented in the future. A powerful
mechanism needs to be formed to address the problems that are
likely to arise during the transition. The reports of the committee
should match the reality; it should not be unrealistic. It seems
to be unknown on how to manage the resources and manpower. Until
there is third party's monitoring, the national projects are
not effectively implemented. To make the administration accountable
to the public is a challenging task. The research institutes
are not equipped with resources. The government does not spend
a single penny in the researches in the trade and hydropower
sector. There should be clarity the kind of research the government
Tirtha Man Shakya, former chairman
of Public Service Commission: The issue of transfer and promotion
of the employees has been a key problem in the administration
sector. The concerned ministries should be authorized to deal
with the matters relating to the transfer and promotion. The
federal structure of the administration should be manageable
and workable. There should be necessary groundwork before adopting
the federal structure. The tendency to seek instructions from
the higher authorities should discontinue. The employees themselves
must face the challenges.
Surya Prasad Shrestha, Former chief
Election Commissioner: The political will, stability and strong
leadership were prerequisites to carry out administrative reforms.
We should also evaluate the implementation of the past reports
on the administrative reforms. Many reports were prepared in
this regard. We must get rid of the bad practise of reshuffling
the secretaries with the formation of the new government. The
number of the ministries must be fixed. The intervention of
the PM office has both the positive and negative impacts on
the implementation of the projects.
Dev Raj Dahal, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,
It seems that the territory of new federal
structure is caved out vertically. The centre must be strong
enough for the effective service delivery. When the centrifugal
forces become active, it becomes difficult to ensure law and
order. The service delivery must be productive. The bureaucracy
should be nationalistic. We have instances in which democracy
can be regained if it lost but nationality cannot be retaken
if we lose it. There should be dialogue for policy formulation.
Nepal has not chalked out its policies since 2007 BS. The political
parties think in part but the bureaucracy should think in whole.
Therefore, the onus of strengthening democracy and nationality
lies with bureaucracy. The PM office should mediate between
bureaucracy and the politicians.
Bimal Wagle: The change in the mindset
of the employees is necessary. The bureaucrats and politicians
are engaged in the blame game. All ministries should be treated
equally. The morale of bureaucracy has further gone down owing
to the structural problem. We concentrated on the petty issues.
Reforms should be carried out in a package, not in isolation.
There should be tough exercise while creating new vacancies.
The country is running by remittance sent by the migrant workers
but the state is apathetic towards their plight. We need a policy
making institution. The National Planning Commission should
set programmes one year earlier.
Umesh Mainali: Bureaucracy is a non-elected
senate. The civil servants are the product of the society and
they should not live in ivory tower. There is conflict between
the politics and the bureaucracy. A balance and mutual cooperation
is necessary between the two. The PM office should focus on
the policy formation. It should be active but not intervene
in the works of other ministries. The procedural complexity
needs to be simplified and shortened. The new CA should discuss
on how to adjust the civil servants to the new federal set-up.
It is imperative for the civil servants to learn the local language,
which will be used in the local offices following the implementation
of federalism. The new federal model should be based on the
diversity model. The provinces should hire the civil servants
on contract basis. The process of service delivery should be
ethnic friendly. The delivery democracy is in vogue these days.
Govinda Kusum Shrestha: Corruption
is rife. Reforms should start from the change of mindset of
the civil servants. Security needs to be linked with development.
The internal security policy should be framed. The PM office
should act as the integrative body and should play the role
of regulator, monitor and facilitator. The boundary line between
the politics and bureaucracy must be drawn. There should not
be interference in the time of the policy implementation. Those,
who assume the mantle of secretary, must have worked in districts
at least for four years and have developed capacity to deal
with different problems. The civil servants must have developed
a sense of nationality and dignity, and be accountable to the
people. Otherwise, they could not take positive decisions.
Madhuraman Acharya: The government
should implement the recommendations of the Committee by unveiling
an action plan within a year. The PM office should monitor the
activities of other ministries. The service delivery should
be effective. The dual system must be ended. The practice of
favouritism must be discouraged. Likewise, the practice of middleman,
particularly in the Labour Department should be rooted out.
Tana Gautam: Without administrative
reforms, there is unlikely the effective service delivery. The
political parties should also realise that the administrative
reform is also their agenda. The prime minister should chair
the Committee. The introduction of e-governance can minimise
the costs of service delivery. The employees must change their
behaviours and attitudes. Federalism is a system that brings
bureaucracy closer to the people. It is not good if the PM office
to have a finger in every pie. The local bodies should be made
active. The federal government should take the employees up
to under secretary level. Creating a federal structure is a
difficult task and also a time-consuming.
Bharat Thapa: The administrative reform
agenda has not gone beyond the Singha Durbar. The political
interference in the bureaucracy has crossed the limit. The service
delivery is so poor that it makes use feel ashamed. It takes
almost six months for the foreign job aspirants to get passport.
The country is not sensitive to those on whose money it is surviving.
Are there no managers in the national pride projects? We should
share experiences related to federal structure of administration
with the neighbouring country. The PM office is doing well and
it should facilitate other ministries and form a mechanism for
monitoring. There is the need for making consultants accountable
to the government.
Khem Raj Regmi: Is that the local
elections should not be held? The local elections will spur
changes in the administration. There should be power devolution.
The 18 per cent of employees are concentrated in Kathmandu.
This should be undone. The PM office should be converted into
an office of project monitoring. It should be independent and
powerful. At the same time the PM should be accountable to the
Dr Ram Awatar Yadav: The bureaucracy
should be free from politics. It should have life-world view.
There is the need for coordination between the ministers and
the sectaries. The secretarial post is not just an executive
body but also a policy formulation one.
Bal Krishna Prasai: The suggestions
should be given in a way that benefits the people. The PM office
seems to be involved in every affair of other ministries. The
secretaries at the PM office want to go to other ministries.
The ministries should execute the given responsibilities and
not to poke into the affairs of their counterparts. The administrative
reforms should be implemented in the Nepal Police and Nepal
Army. The departmental chiefs should be taken action base on
their performances. The employees, who are sent from the Public
Service Commission to the concerned ministries, should get work
Som Lal Subedi: There should be clarity
in the role delegation and job description. Until the willpower,
the administrative reforms are unlikely to be implemented. The
committee should address the frontline service provider agencies
in the urban areas. The PM office should be engaged in the policy
analysis and auditing. It should coordinate with the Planning
Commission for the monitoring. The Science and Technology Ministry
should be equipped with manpower and resources.
1 Draw a clear boundary between the politics
2 Simplify the cumbersome bureaucratic process,
3 Civil servants must change their mindsets,
4 Fix the number of ministries,
5 Don't reshuffle the secretaries with the change of government,
6 Bureaucrats should develop a sense of nationality and dignity,
7 The administrative reform report should be realistic,
8 The PM office should facilitate and monitor other ministries,
not intervene in their works,
9 The PM office should focus on forming security and foreign
10Administrative reform should be also the agenda of the political
11Would-be secretaries must have insight about economy and planning,
12Bring migrant worker-friendly policies,
13Civil servants should start learning local languages,
14Administrative reforms should go beyond the walls of Singha
15Administrative reforms must touch security agencies such as
Nepal Police and Nepal Army,
16The government must invest in research and development,
17Discourage unnecessary foreign junkets,
18Local poll a must to end corruption at local bodies,
19Boost the morale of bureaucracy.