PROMOTION OF SECRETARY:Hapless Executive

When the executive branch loses its executive powers, it is left to endorse recommendations rather than decide on choices

Jan. 17, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 08 No.- 14 January 16 - 2015 (Magh 2, 2071)

It is regarded as a privilege of the executive branch to have a say on promotion, transfer and departmental action of civil servants. However, Nepal’s executive departments are helpless as their privileges and powers are clipped so much that they cannot choose anybody for positions and works.

As the cabinet picks up the person for promotion of secretaries only as recommended by Secretaries Promotion Recommendations Committee, it is virtually helpless in correcting errors or making a choice.

The committee recently recommended the names of 42 joint secretaries for 16 posts of secretary lying vacant at various ministries. However, it had dropped Shanker Bairagi, acting foreign secretary, who completed a five-year tenure, since he failed to secure eligible marks.

With a ministry to deal with complicated foreign issues, foreign ministry’s career cadet Bairagi has no alternative now. However, the cabinet cannot do anything about it because the act has limited its powers.

With the growing disenchantment and concern on possible misuse of power, Nepal’s parliament does not let the executive any power to govern. This is creating problems not only in civil service but also in Nepal Police where home minister and home secretary’s hands are tied up.

The committee has recommended the names of 42 joint secretaries, including three senior most joint secretaries, for the posts of secretary.

According to Ministry of General Administration, Joint Secretaries Suresh Prakash Acharya, Sharadraj Bista and Gajendra Thakur have been recommended for the posts of secretary on seniority basis.

"Acharya, Bista and Thakur will be automatically promoted to secretaries as they are the seniormost candidates," according to a source. Thirteen others will be promoted by the cabinet on the basis of performance. Those recommended for the posts of secretary are from the administrative, judicial and technical services. None of the joint secretaries recommended are from the Foreign Service this time.

Among others, recommended for promotion, are Sunil Kumar Malla, Laxman Prasad Mainali, Kamal Shali Ghimire, Ram Kumar Acharya, Shiva Kumar Sharma, Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, Rajan Khanal, Chandra Ghimire, Tek Prasad Dhungana, Bijaya Kumar Mallik, Ramesh Kumar Sharma, Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Shanker Koirala, Khumaraj Punjali, Nawaraj Bhandari, Rajendra Prasad Nepal, Iswari Prasad Paudel, Sashisekhar Shrestha, Jayadev Shrestha, Tankamani Sharma and Prem Kumar Rai.

The cabinet can revise the list of candidates proposed by the promotions committee, and will take the decision to promote 16 joint secretaries as recommended by the meeting.

The promotion recommendations committee recommends three times as many candidates as the total number of vacant posts, as per the Civil Service Act.

The government promotes joint secretaries to secretaries twice a year -- in August and January.

As the cabinet’s hands are tied, it has to rely on the sole recommendation of the committee to make promotion. This is creating a lot of problems. The recent example is the obstacle to the promotion of secretaries in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

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