Pratibedan Baidya: Although the government has hiked the pay of civil servant by 18 percent and also decided to provide one thousand rupees as dearness allowance but the hike failed to bring smile in the face of one of my relatives, who has been working as an officer in the government corporation. He has the fear that the price hike might go up as compared to his salary hike as monitoring mechanism virtually does not exist in our country.
There is no doubt that the salary of the civil servant should be competitive but while discussing about their salary we should not forget about the output delivered by them. If the salary, which the civil servants have been getting, is not enough why should not they exert pressure to the government to make competitive salary. The answer is obvious most of the civil servants have been making money by the other way i.e; through bribery so they do not worry on whether the government increase their salary or not. Many people want to join civil service not because there is job security and other opportunities the reason simply is that if they were transferred to some lucrative offices like the Transport Management, Land Revenue, Custom Department among others they could earn hefty sum of money so that they do not need to worry about their salary. Otherwise, how a secretary could build a house in Kathmandu by meeting all expenses for his lavish lifestyle from the salary he / she receives as it is less than 40 thousand rupees. I have meet some of the bureaucrats who never get tired while giving long speeches about accountability and transparency but their income never comes at the scrutiny of transparency.
There are only few clean people in the bureaucracy, so, their voice is never heard. As they are clean they have been spending miserable life due to the current salary structure and growing inflation of the country. There are various mechanisms for curbing corruption in the country and they take action against some people but these are not more than the publicity stunts. The question might come about the responsibility of individual against corrupt persons but people do not have confidence that such mechanisms carry out impartial investigation and take action against corrupt ones. The bureaucracy is so corrupt that you can’t reform it by providing some pain killers there is a need of major surgery in the bureaucracy. The government or the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) or other anti-graft watchdog should stand ready to take action against may be 80 percent. The recent decision of the Government to open offices of the CIAA in five development region is a positive move but the institution should be empowered with necessary and competent human resources essential for it.
The quality of service provided by most of the civil servant is very pathetic. This is not because they lack capacity or they do not have infrastructure for it, this is just because they have the tendency of not working whole-heartedly before they get some commission. For example you have to pay bribe even if you go to pay tax in different offices like the labor department, land revenue, transport management and even at the VDC or municipality for your work done. For a general people like me the question is whether the increased salary will enhance the work efficiency of the civil servant and reduce the tendency of bribery but these issues seem distant dream to all Nepalese people. Unless and until there are strict mechanism for controlling corruption like confiscating the whole property of the person and spouse then it will not going to work effectively. Recently one Minister was hanged to death in China for his involvement in corruption, if Capital punishment does not exist in Nepal, why don’t the leaders dare to bring some strong law against corruption. So far the corrupt person and leaders have been facing nominal fine so the tendency of being involved in corruption has been increasing as they [corrupts] believe that they will get impunity with nominal punishment even if they were convicted. For example, former Minister Jaya Prakash Gupta, who recently released from Jail after serving jail term for being convicted as corrupt person, has remained active in the national politics immediately after he got released. So is the case with other corrupt leaders as well. This tendency has been promoting corruption in the country. The bureaucrats have been indulged in corruption under the political cover. All the bureaucrats have been close to any of the political party, so they are involved in corruption on the cover of political parties. For example the officials of the Land Revenue Office Dillibazar organized protest program when a staff of that office caught red-handed while taking bribe. There have been reports that a candidate has to pay millions of rupees to get the top post of Nepal Police or Chief of any corporation other profitable organizations.
All the trade unions of government organizations have been involved in irregular activities. Rather than working for the benefit of the civil servant they have been devoted to serve the interest of the political parties. These unions have been fighting to each other just for the sake of power and to send their well-wishers in the lucrative departments. If all trade unions, who went to round-up the Finance Ministry demanding pay hike, want to have reform in the bureaucracy they need to prepare a roadmap of reform, where a civil servant should have the fear that he or she might be terminated from his post if he/she failed to deliver minimum output for the position. If all the civil servant take themselves to the level that they are ready for termination if they fail to perform the duty as mentioned in their job description they deserve the competitive salary for their livelihoods otherwise the situation will remain same whether you hike their pay or not.
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